2 days ago
Monday, June 29, 2009
I know it's been a few days, and many people are already getting over it, moving on.
People are back to enjoying summer and living life.
And, so am I, basically.
But, I think of him a little everyday (maybe b/c my iPod is set on Man in the Mirror, and I don't have the willpower to NOT listen when it comes up).
Whatever the reason, I can't imagine a musical world without Mike (yeah, I call him Mike, we were close like that).
It's like imagining a movie theater without buttery popcorn.
It's like going to a ballgame and not hearing the National Anthem before the opening pitch.
Despite the fact that Mike spent the last years of his life as a crazy, almost unrecognizable, colorless shell of his former on top of the world self, he was still an international sensation, an idol, an icon, really.
So, it's taken me a few days to wrap my head around this whole thing: Mike is dead. Not dead like Elvis (who is apparently not actually dead), dead like, dead.
When I heard the news I felt... strange.
Actually, I did my usual I-didn't-know-him-I-really-don't-care routine; I made a couple of jokes to BFF.
And then, I turned on the radio, and I started to feel... more strange.
And, as I drove home I felt my face get hot, and my stomach get tight, and tears started to drop into my lap.
And, I realized I didn't feel strange, I felt... sad.
But, I couldn't put my finger on why.
Other than the occasional cuing up of one of his hits on the iPod from time to time, Mike has only recently entered my mind in the form of a tasteless joke or sensational story.
I haven't even seen any photos of him lately. So, what's with the tears?
Could have just been an emotional week for me (I tend to have those more often these days), but I'd like to think it was more than that ('cause I like to at least pretend I'm deep).
I decided that it is; I'm not a completely shallow me-monster (usually, but not always).
I'm sad for his kids, and his mother and father and sisters and brothers.
I'm sad for all of his friends and relatives who didn't just see formerly-black-but-mysteriously-white-where-did-he-get-that-nose-please-tell-me-this-is-a-joke Mike.
And, I'm sad for me (it really is quite possibly ALWAYS at least partially about me isn't it?).
Because, Mike was my first love. My jheri-curled-silver-gloved-super-fast-footed-sexually-ambiguous first love.
He taught me that I like boys (or at least people who claim to be).
He taught me how to effectively obsess (as I carried him with me from room to room in the form of a record on my trusty Fisher Price portable record player) over a boy until neither he, nor anyone else, could stand hearing his name one more time.
He taught me there really were kids starving in Africa (hey, I was only 7 when We Are the World came out).
And, he taught me that not only do I love boys, but I love music and dancing; a love that I share with my boys every time I get the chance (which is always as I make it a point to dance in my kitchen, to their horror, daily).
This is the Mike I will miss; the Mike I fell in love with.
The leather-jacketed-moonwalking-penny-loafered-OMG-is-he-on-fire? Mike whose stickers I collected when I got so attached to him in the early eighties.
The Mike who starred in that strange Bad video/movie (remember? Mike played Darryl) that I watched an embarrassing number of times.
The Mike who inspired, influenced, and basically made so many of the artists I am a fan of today.
Because that's the Mike I know and remember.
That's the Mike my kids have grown to love.
And, that's the Mike that made me cry on Thursday (and, maybe a little on Friday, and even as I watched parts of the inefficient, but at times touching, tribute on BET last night).
So please enjoy the video; just try not to cry.
Giving away two copies of the movie Extract starring Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck. Contest ends 4/2/10.