Friday, June 26, 2009

The Loss of Innocence

Yesterday, I mourned the loss of innocence. Over the weekend I had thought about writing a post on the early eighties. Those are the years I look back on with an overwhelming sense of peace and nostalgia. I remember shadowing my big brother, always being underfoot, and my father trying to fit half of the neighborhood kids in our van so we could go fishing. There were always street football and baseball games in the summer and the boys would attempt to break dance, ride skateboards and their BMX bikes. I laugh when I think of my father always burning something and hiding the pan in the snow from my mom, or recall cutting my dolls hair punk-rock style and streaking what was left with Mom's best fingernail polish. The ass-whipping that followed - not so funny. Those were my halcyon days and Michael provided the soundtrack.

It's hard to express how much he meant to me during those days - he was everything to me as a kid. Most of my chore money was spent on his music, posters, stickers etc. I even loved Weird Al's "Eat It" because it was connected to MJ (funny as hell too). Would fall asleep listening to the worn out tape of "The Jackson Five's Greatest Hits." I grew up, but I was still a fan. As Michael grew older, the world watched as he (and we) stripped away his innocence. The little boy who sang "Ben" was nowhere to be found in this strange man-child who emerged and ultimately hid away in seclusion only to resurface more unrecognizable than before.

Yesterday, I was revisiting the idea of an 80's post and remembering those days when crazy happened. Again. Despite the life drama with the ex that is sometimes discussed here, I have treid to maintain my belief in the inherent goodness of most people. So nothing prepared me for level of pure unwarranted evil (post forthcoming)that came my way as I prepared for the long commute home. As I walked downtown and tried not to cry in front of the baby - the phone call came. Michael was dead. For a moment, I couldn't breathe or think. As it sank in, I thought of his children and his family and the grief they must now endure. And then I realized that a major touchstone to my happiest days in past was gone. And so was any sense of innocence I once had.

Yesterday, we drove home and listened to his music and the stream of newscasts. The baby she asked me, "Who is Michael Jackson?" I told her someone mommy used to love and cranked up the music.


  1. At last, a blogger who can reminisce and tie their emotions and experiences to their personal memories of how MJ affected them and not just spew out a few dates and "so long" and "farewell".

    Thanks for the clip of Mr Jackson singing Ben. I remember I used to sing Ben to myself back in the 70's when I was about 10 or 12 since I was just a few years younger than Michael. I guess it was the anthem of the lonley kid back then so it sort of stuck with me.

    It's funny that I didn't realize until years later that the song was about a rat, I might have picked another tune to sing instead.

  2. ^ Thank you. My feelings were a little hurt when I realized the song was about a rat. Look on the bright side though, the song is about friendship and feeling like an outsider so it still applies. : )