Where were you when...
I don't want to remember where I was when Michael Jackson died.
I prefer to remember where I was when I first saw him moonwalk on the Motown 25th anniversary special. I was at my friend Kim's house, sitting on her floor, when we were mesmerized by how he seemed to defy gravity with his dance moves. Sharp, sassy...I thought the single white glove was an ironic touch, a clever commentary on the white man's place in the music industry and how much of Motown's original talent had been co-opted by executives.
I prefer to remember where I was when I bought his "Thriller"album (a K-Mart store in Connecticut that closed many years ago). I listened to it over and over and over again. It took me weeks to get that album; it had been sold out in every place my mother and I went. I felt like I was the last person alive to own it.
I prefer to remember where I was when I watched the Jackson Five cartoons. When I was a kid, I lived in a subdivision in Fairfield, Connecticut and my parents had friends whose children were about the ages of me and my brother. We all thought those were pretty awesome cartoons and "baby" Michael was amazing, even in animated form.
I prefer to remember Michael Jackson's fantastic videos, his dancing, his vast library of music. He was truly a larger-than-life personality who lived in a world the majority of us will never understand. Without ignoring the darker side of his life, and perhaps the stress of that life that may have contributed to his death, there is no denying the influence he had on the entire music industry, on dancers and choreographers and filmmakers, on the millions of fans around the world and across several generations.