Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bye bye, Michael

When we were little, living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we used to take dance lessons at a dance studio on 4th Street. I think it was called Starlet Dance Studio, but I'm not sure, the name may have just morphed into that over time. Anyhow, the name of the studio was not the point, it was the dancing. Several nights a week, Kathleen and I used to take lessons. Jazz, Tap, Baton and Acrobatics. We danced up a storm in that little studio to lots of music from the late 70s and early 80s. I remember our Acrobatics recital piece was set to The Village People's "In the Navy" and I especially remember our daily jazz warm ups were always started to George Benson's "On Broadway," and finished to Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough." Even now, hearing that song makes me want to step-ball-change diagonally across the room. In pairs. With "big arms."

A few years later, I remember watching hours of MTV. I remember the premiere of Thriller and waiting to see it again and again. That was the year I got my first filling. See, my enamel on my back teeth never fully closed and in the deep grooves of my teeth I got a cavity. Our family, or at least the women in my family are pretty proud of our teeth. And that year, I was mortified that I had to get a filling. Mortified and terrified. My perfect-toothed sister liked to tease me. She'd run around after me saying "drill drill drill" until I lost it. My mom caught her doing this, and because I as so scared, she let me buy a new tape to play in my Walkman while I had my filling done. I chose Thriller. I listened to that cassette about a million times. By the end of its run it didn't even play quite right.

In that same time frame I remember a visit with a friend in California when some company started selling a rhinestone encrusted "Michael Jackson" glove. I remember her begging her mom to buy her one. And I remember thinking how cool that would be. Keep in mind I was really really young. I also thought the moonwalk was pretty awesome. I've grown up a bit since then in my appreciation of dance and accessories. I promise.

And then I outgrew Michael Jackson completely. My musical tastes changed, I got too cool for Mr. Goody-goody. By the time Bad, came out I was way over it. And I don't know if it just my perspective, or if I'm right on when I say, he pretty much sucked after that. He all but disappeared from my consciousness.

I still saw him on tv, still saw the news coverage. Over the years I saw him turn strange and really kind of creepy. I wish that never happened. Not only because I worry about what really happened to those little kids, but because now, today, now that he's dead I have to reconcile my love of that early music with the weird and sad person he became.

1 comment:

Kaza said...

You've really captured it for me here. I remember "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" from junior high P.E., when they had it playing during the gymnastics rotation that year. I can still see myself dipping my feet one-by-one on the low-beam, keeping rhythm with that song. I outgrew his music at about the same time, and feel as you do about what happened in recent years. I think I'd felt the loss of the Michael Jackson we had known for years, so somehow there's little emotion about his actual death now.

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