Gizmo is sitting on the carpet we’ve had airing on the back deck for a week, Miss Margot is chasing fluff around the deck and being a crazy cat, first batch of waffles is on, and Katie’s coming over later to help motivate me to unpack. Sometime between now and her arrival I must pick off another song. Time’s a-wasting! At my age a year goes by like nothing!
On a completely different subject I have been thinking about the cultural reverber-erberations around Michael Jackson’s unfortunate death. He was fifty and I’m fifty and don’t think I haven’t thought about what he did in his life and with it and what I’ve done with mine. I am the tape measure for everything I perceive. I must make a big effort to see things otherwise.
If I was taking 10 Xanax every night, my brother would stage an intervention. It would take him a long time to work up to it, because he’s a pretty laid back guy and doesn’t stick his nose in other people’s biz without thinking about it in a considered way, but he’d pick up the phone, call the kids and Paul, and get me to a doctor.
The saddest thing about Jackson’s death is the extent to which it reveals how none of his friends thought enough of his one, single, precious life to make more than arm-wavy gestures about his drug use. One of his sisters tried, apparently, and one can only wonder at why she didn’t pick up the phone and call the cops. He needed to be arrested for the godawful stew of illegally prescribed/obtained drugs he had in his house, and so did every person illegally prescribing and obtaining them on his behalf.
The best case scenario was a Robert Downey Jr. style self-reinvention as somebody who beat addiction and childhood trauma to head to the top of his game. It would have involved his handlers and psychic moneychangers getting their meretricious mitts away from him and into something resembling honest employment. The worst case scenario was dying like Elvis, which, according to published reports by Lisa Presley, he fully expected to happen. Kinda like Christ knowing he was going to get it; except in this case a willing offering on the pyre of celebrity.
And, of course, once again I think about this song I wrote, because with each passing day it gets more true. When I wrote “Zombies stalk the headlines” I wasn’t thinking about MJ’s groundbreaking Thriller video, but if I had a buck for everytime I wrote a sentence in imagination to have it come true in reality (or what passes for my reality, as always your mileage may vary), I could stay drunk on the proceeds for a day.
The drugs Michael Jackson ingested and sought cause oblivion. They completely detach your consciousness from the rest of you. Whether or not you seek oblivion, it will find you, and I would prefer to get more bang for my life. If it’s true he raised three hundred million dollars for charity, that is a great thing. The rest of the story is unbearably sordid, sad, full of missed opportunities, and just plain contemptible in spots. And the horror, the horror! Like the Anna Nicole Smith saga which triggered my writing Slimfast and Methadone, this sucker’s going to live on for a long time. I suspect the lawsuits alone will not be resolved for 10 to 15 years.