Friday, February 21, 2003

Michael who?

All the recent point-counterpoint TV footage of Michael Jackson has left me feeling nostalgic for my long-ago youth, when getting someone to slow-dance with you to "Ben," his poignant ode to a rat, was the height of junior high school romance. That's back when Michael had his whole nose and his original skin tone, well before he took the one-way dead-end road to Weirdville. And as much as I try to be sympathetic to the guy, for old time's sake, I think at this point most folks would agree he's just irredeemably creepy.

Maybe he feels that he can recapture public interest and sympathy with these latest news assaults, but I have to tell him that, judging from the recent conversation I had with three young passengers in my car, his time has passed as surely as my middle-school days. The subject came up as I was driving my daughter, age 12; her old special-ed classmate, age 13; and her current regular-ed classmate, 10, to bowling practice. The 13-year-old asked if anyone had watched the Michael Jackson shows on TV, and wasn't he just the creepiest? My daughter had no idea who Michael Jackson was. Her 10-year-old friend said, authoritatively, that he was a basketball player. The 13-year-old and I corrected him, and then, since we were the only ones in the car who had heard of the guy, we discussed what a freak show he was. And then, as I waxed nostalgic about junior high school dances, the discussion turned to how much they all now hate the Backstreet Boys and 'NSync.

The King of Pop? Isn't that Justin Timberlake?

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