Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Not real".

Bear with me, because I'm about to blow some minds:
I don't think Michael Jackson is dead.

Okay. Let me explain.

If you asked my parents what kind of child I was, they would tell you I was quiet and well-behaved, but had a very tough time living in reality. I didn't like most of the kids in my class, so I would spend my time daydreaming that I was BFFs with Urkel. I often daydreamed that Jason Bateman would come and whisk me away from my miserable eight-year-old existence. My parents put me into swim lessons and classes at the art centre, and genuinely tried to engage me with other children, but fuck that! I wanted to imagine that the fat kid from Small Wonder would come and share his awesome robot sister with me (why wasn't my kid sister a robot?).

A couple of weeks ago, when I heard the news about Michael Jackson's untimely passing, I reflected back onto the first time that I realized that something was fishy in the entertainment industry ('s not real!):
The year was 1991, and AM106 had announced that they would be playing 'Black or White', Micheal's first single in over four years, sometime in the evening. My sister sat down in our basement with our boombox and waited patiently. When dinnertime rolled around, my mom brought our dinner downstairs... We were on a determined mission that even burrito-night couldn't compete with.
There was no question about it, the jam was hot, and totally worth the evening of hunching over the radio in the dank basement for hours and hours. However, the video, released a few days later, left me with some big questions. Namely, when the fuck did MJ turn into a pale, thin weirdo that spent abnormal amounts of time kickin' it with the kid from Home Alone? Something wasn't right here.

Even my teeny elementary-educated brain could do the math:

MJ + zillions of dollars + childhood abuse + social isolation + plastic surgery - melanin = Pale, thin weirdo.

+ Macaulay Culkin + unlimited access to roller coasters and Bubbles the chimp= Bizarre (but totally plausible) camaraderie.

Parents naming their child 'Macaulay'= NOT REAL.
Shiiiiit. Finally, it was all making sense. All of the hours that I had spent hoping and wishing that Scott Baio would come and babysit me were a huge waste of time. Charles In Charge was a phony, Urkel was a total sham, and nobody on the whole planet had a fucking robot for a sister. I was devastated, but this was certainly not the first time I had been bamboozled in my short little life.

Rewind even further to the age of five, to the time that I found out that Santa was a fraud after stumbling across some gifts in the basement. When I brought it up to my parents later in the day, they shushed me (my little sister was in the car at the time), and promised that we would discuss things later. Near bedtime, I stomped out to the living room and demanded answers. My parents were visibly nervous; they knew I had them by the balls on this one. I had all the proof I needed, and no amount of sugar-coated storytelling would appease my thirst for the truth.

My parents sat me down and patted me on the back. They told me that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were not real. They kissed me on my forehead, and told me to go crawl into bed.... Nice try, mom and dad.

I needed more answers: why would they ever lie to me like this? My parents were sweating pretty hard at this point (and probably questioning why they bothered to have kids in the first place). They mustered all of their courage, and in the parenting move of the year (1987), gathered together an outrageous tale that satisfied me until I was well into junior high.
"You see", my mom began, "Santa Claus was a real person a long, long time ago. He was a kind and generous man that supplied all of the children around him with gifts at Christmas time". My father stood behind her and nodded confidently; it was clear that I was definitely buying their bullshit. "When he passed away, parents around the world agreed to carry on the tradition in his honor". I went to bed that night without a care in the world. Who the fuck cared if Santa wasn't real, the fact of the matter was that there were folks out there carrying on his legacy.

To this day, I often apply the same mentality to guys like MJ. Sure, he was a real guy at some point. A sad story from the beginning, Michael was a very talented young man (did you know that all of his dance-moves were self-taught?) thrown into the spotlight at a young age. You know that sinking feeling you get when you wake up on Monday morning? Some Mondays, I consider jumping into the river on the way to work, so that I don't have to drag my ass into the office for another lame week. Imagine if you had to feel that way when you were eight years old! By your mid-twenties, you'd be ready for full-blown retirement.

However, no matter how badly he needed it, the public couldn't handle life without MJ in the early nineties. With total dicks like Color Me Badd and Amy Grant tearing up the airwaves, we couldn't stand to lose the guy. What to do, what to do?
Cue up "Michael Jackson", imposter extrordinnaire. MJ leaves the spotlight for the first time in his life, "Michael" steps in and pretends to be MJ, and the rest, as they say, is history.

While "Michael" was totally fucking up that Oprah interview in 1993, MJ was spending time relaxing on his very own island in a rhinestoned speedo, drinking Pepsi out of pineapples and prank calling Liz Taylor. When "Michael" was holding young children over balconies in Berlin, MJ was over at Tupac's Thug Mansion, BBQing and throwing down some tracks with Biggie.

Really, is MJ dead? As far as I'm concerned, he's just started living.

~sarah p.


sarah p. said...

p.s. Further proof?

Ron said...

I love you, Sarah P. Seriously. You are the best.

Melony said...

This whole post perfectly explains why sarah p will forever be one of the most interesting people i will EVER meet. God I miss you. I think we need to live in the same vicinity. Like, at least in the same country.