March 10, 2011

The Gloved One

My mother told me when I was a young child how she remembered exactly where she was when President Kennedy was killed.  Later, I would have the memories of where I was and what I was doing when Challenger exploded or of 9-11.  There is one more, though:  The day MJ died.

I was walking down the sidewalk after some shopping when I got a text from my old school bff.  We grew up on MJ, rockin to some Thriller back in the day.  We had satin (Really? My parents bought that?) wall tapestries of him and all his albums. Seriously, they were albums. Her text said the Gloved One was gone. Our MJ had bitten the big one.

It's not like we hadn't buried some beloved rock star before. Hello? Kurt Cobain, anyone? A little bit of that chapter of your life closes when you learn of a famous person's death with whom you associate parts of your life. But MJ was different.  He was the first big star that was ours.

You may be thinking, "Yeah, yeah, we all had the album. So what?" Ah, yes, but I got to see him. The Gloved One, in action, in Knoxville. I wasn't supposed to go, but I found out my best friends, who are sisters, had tickets. AND THERE WAS AN EXTRA!! I ran home, told my dad we were invited (we weren't, but how could they turn me down if I'd already made plans?), and then told the older sister I was going. Now, I knew she was becoming a little tighter with another girl, but I never thought she'd cheat on me like that. She was pissed and raised hell, but I prevailed in the end. Their dad liked my dad, so he wanted to take me so my dad would be there for him. I get that now that I'm a parent.

I don't remember much about that night because I was obsessed with the teenage girl with the silver glove, flourescent shirt, and god-awful hair who was fist-pumping (yes, before Jersey Shore) through the entire show.  Plus, it was nosebleed at Neyland Stadium, so MJ looked like a speck and I was blinded by all sorts of pyrotechnic crap and lights. 

When we got back to the van, that would be the navy blue travel van with the captain's chairs and and cool table you could set your drink in, their van had been broken into and all the stuff we'd so cleverly left in the van was scattered around the parking lot.  This was my first experience with karma.  In return for my inviting myself, the concert gods punished me.  My very lovely pleated white pleather purse had carelessly been tossed into the bushes.  I was beyond distraught till I realize thugs don't need Hello Kitty pencils, so all my worldly possessions were intact. It was a little smudged, though, which kinda ruined it for me.

I know in the end he went all nutso, crazy weird. And when kids talk about how cool he is and start trying to dance like him, I get a little sick because he was a little cuckoo-cachoo, and, if he were still alive and could see them, he'd probably be checking them out. But, DAMN, in 1984 he was the stuff.
Not quite the same as remembering Kennedy, but who the hell else could rock one sequined glove AND sequined socks? Only the King of Pop.

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