Sometimes you just need a day to be over.
Today is such a day.
It’s just too depressing of a day to stay awake any longer.
For reasons totally unexpected the Michael Jackson memorial affected me at a much deeper level than I was prepared for.
Perhaps it’s because his was the voice of my generation. As a little kid, me and my brother competed in dance contests our nanny put on just for us while blasting her 8 track of OFF THE WALL. I also had the albums of OFF THE WALL and THE WIZ. We would listen to MJ on Solid Gold (at least I think it was Solid Gold), a variety music show we watched when my parents were getting read to go out on most Saturday nights.
Then came Thriller and the amazing videos that we simply could not get enough of. Our VHS copy of Thriller -that we'd taped from MTV- was so corrupted from constant playing that I kept waiting for it to snap and the tape to get all tangled and wound up in the heads of our first generation VHS player.
I remember camping out at the Birmingham Civic Center downtown just to catch a glimpse of MJ. He and the rest of the Jackson 5 were rehearsing the Victory tour in Birmingham (even tho, for some annoying reason, they never performed it in B’ham). So we went downtown (myself, my brother, sister, brother-in-law) to see what we could see. What we saw were MASSIVE crowds just waiting for a glimpse. And we got one…just a glimpse. Jermaine, Tito, and the rest of the brothers who I can’t really name stood out on a balcony and waved for 5-10 minutes. I think one of them actually gave a speech via microphone, talking about how grateful they were to be in Birmingham. And then- after what seemed like forever- came Michael. He rushed out, waved and smiled and then rushed back in. It was over in about 5 seconds. But damn, there he was: Michael Jackson in the flesh.
And a few months later, my sister and brother in law drove me and my brother to Atlanta to see Victory. It was kind of shit, truth me told, but it was still cool to see Jackson on stage doing his thing.
And hell, I’ll admit it. Even in high school and college, I was a fan. I remember going to the mall to buy Bad the day it came out. I liked it, too. Good tape. I also bought Dangerous and I dug that. Damn, I even went and saw Captain EO at Disneyland (‘hit the red button Hooter!’) and thought it was kinda…well ok, that was pretty stupid but whatever.
But so I dug the man’s work. And I dug the spirit that he seemed to put into his work. Now this feels stupid to say so let me preface it by saying: I am fully aware of and ok with the fact that I don’t contain .1% of MJ’s talent nor .1% of his success. But that said, I always felt creatively connected to him. Not from a musician or dancer standpoint. Lord knows I can’t do either. But there was something about the way it SEEMED he saw the world and the energy it SEEMED he put into his work that I related to and admired and aspired to in terms of my own work. Now I say SEEMED cause cleary, the man was a showman and who knows how much of the image that he projected was real. But it was real enough for me to take inspiration from it.
And now it’s gone. And that makes me sad.
Sad because it makes me realize that even talent like his is mortal. And if someone as talented and successful as Michael Jackson can be snuffed out so quickly and so unexpectedly, what does that say about someone like me who doesn’t possess anywhere close to his gifts?
Sad because he will no longer be able to create for the world. Hell, I'm sad that he will no longer be able to create for ME; no longer able to share the gifts that have inspired me since I was a child.
Was he a freak or a monster? Maybe. Possibly. According to some, most definitely. According to others- and certainly according to 12 jury members- he was not. But who knows. Not me. But what I do know is that he was a genuine artist whose work touched and moved my soul. And I am sad that he is no longer here to do so.
Sad because the biggest icon from my generation is now gone. I imagine only Spielberg dying will have more effect on me in terms of the death of someone I don’t know.
And mostly sad because of his children, specifically his daughter who broke my fucking heart today when she spoke. As the dad of two small kids…two small GIRLS, I could feel her pain so acutely and wanted to do SOMETHING to help her. But I could not. No one can. I know she will move on, as countless young children who lose a parent eventually move on. But right now, tonite as I type this (and for a time to come) this little girl is in a world of pain and it really does make me very sad.
So you know, there’s that going on.
THEN on top of all the Michael Jackson stuff, I’m in Foster City as I write this. Foster FUCKING City. I was never more depressed in my life than when I lived here. And I am back, for my Sony meeting. Looking forward to the meeting and grateful to have a job where I get to make games and do creative work. I’m not complaining about the work. But I fucking hate being in this city. To me it represents the death of spirit, of creative work. To give you an idea, the hotel I am staying in gives away a free set of golf clubs if you stay in the hotel for 25 nights. I mean, that comes about as close to hell on Earth as I have ever experienced.
I just wanna go have a great meeting tomorrow and then hop a flight the fuck out of here and get back to my dear So Cal. Back to the sun, the beaches, the laid back feel.
Being here literally zaps my energy. It is my soul’s Kryptonite. And I can’t wait to go to bed. And I can’t wait to go home.
Sleeping with the curtains wide open tonite so the sun can hit me in the am and I can start fresh. This day- while needed- has been shit. And I’m ready for it to be over.