The Breakable Man in the Mirror

No Telling

(This is the first picture in a Time photo essay called “Young Michael Jackson at Home.” Just click on the picture to view the rest of the series.)

I’m really not sure what to say. Most of us mourned the loss of Michael Jackson years ago. I’m sure the boy in the picture is, in fact, the Man in the Mirror, forever twelve, always a Lost Boy.

Whatever horrifying things he did or did not do to himself and others, he’s left behind a mind-boggling body of work. He’s also left behind three children, and whether my criticism is deserving or not, it’s possible those kids have been given a gift through the painful loss of their father. I hope they go to their grandmother and that she lives forever.

I flipped through the channels tonight and the tube is heavy with retrospectives and tributes. There’s a combination of fascination and profound sadness when I see these video clips. That’s not new, though. Something about Michael Jackson has always made me feel a little sad, even when he was a little boy. Even as a sometimes-ridiculous grown man he always seemed afraid, breakable.

In addition to the old video clips there are also legions of talking heads whipping up the frenzied fans like a never-ending opening act. Everyone has something to say whether or not they have anything to say, and they say it over and over again. See? I’m even blogging about it and I’m not anybody.

At the end of the day, toxicology reports will all come in, folks will point fingers, others will make a fortune from misfortune, and the rest of us will catch “A-B-C” on geezer radio stations as we drive to work and tap the steering wheel while we sing along. Just as we always have.

3 thoughts on “The Breakable Man in the Mirror

  1. Oh, monda, this is one of those times I'm glad I don't watch TV anymore. I've nearly always felt sad about him, too, especially when he went for that first plastic surgery. I don't care who defends whom, though; anyone so brilliantly talented, who worked so hard & in so self-destructive & persistent a fashion to get away from himself, to get away from even looking like himself, who operated with such an apparent vacuum inside, had to have suffered some tremendous hurt at a young & vulnerable age. With such a damaged soul, it's remarkable he made the music he did. Breaks my heart, really. I hope the lawyers don't waste too much time & too many resources figuring out how to get his estate to those 3 kids. And I will personally be happy to replenish my stores of his music to help them out.

  2. Thanks, SWG and Kathi. I'm beginning to understand that how we feel about this poor man is generational. The terribly young only knew him as a creatively-dying freak-show. Which, sadly, he was in the end.

    I feel confident the lawyers and others will waste plenty of time and money.

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