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Day 180 ~ Remembering an Icon
WHAT: Personal   |   WHEN: June 26, 2009

It's the equivalent of Marilyn Monroe's death to my parents generation.  When I heard the breaking rumors here in Portland today that Michael Jackson had died, at first I thought it was an outlandish rumor.  But after being unable to access online news sites on my iPhone because of huge spikes in traffic that nearly crippled the internet and then finally seeing all the Facebook status updates, I was no longer uncertain.  At that very moment of confirmation, I experienced a strange mesh of feelings including shock, sadness and a sort of void.

Believe me, I never thought in a hundred years I would be dedicating a blog post to Michael Jackson unless it was a series of jokes about his appearance or seemingly outlandish behaviors over the last several years, which I am by the way unfortunately guity of.  As corny as some people may think it sounds, though, he was a huge part of my childhood, particularly my junior high years, and I couldn't get enough of his music.  I wanted the red zipper jacket.  I - and millions of others no doubt - spent hours trying to master the moonwalk.  I watched the Thriller video no less than 50 times.  I freaked out the day his hair caught on fire while filming the Pepsi commercial (that last one's a little embarrassing).  I can't even guess the amount of time I spent listening to his music and singing along, especially the "hee hee hees".  If I looked hard enough, I bet I could find a pencil sketch or 2 of him I did back in seventh grade somewhere in a rubbermaid container with other miscellaneous childhood memoires..  As embarrassing as it may sound today, the reality is Michael was probably my first, and biggest, childhood celebrity obsession, and for a few minutes today it felt like that part of my childhood was taken away with the news of his passing.

For all the ridicule and still arguably unjust public crucification this man has been subject to in recent years, what seems to get unfortunately overshadowed - if not lost - these days is how incedibly talented Mchael Jackson was.  He is without a doubt one of the greatest - and I would probably say the greatest - entertainer my generation will ever see.  His legend is undeniable.  His impact on the music and entertainment industries is immeasurable.  Even now I find myself sitting in my hotel room watching hour after hour of news coverage and videos of his life.  What a long, sad, amazing, strange, phenomenal, and tragic life he lived.

I'm a grown man with an appreciation for Michael Jackson rooted deeply in and inextricably from my childhood, and I'm saddened to hear of his passing.  There.  I said it. Unapologetically. 

Thanks, Michael, for the memories and sharing your gift with the world in spite of the high personal cost.  May God grant you peace in your rest.


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