the chid is not my son

When I was little, Michael Jackson was my first understanding of celebrity. There he was, on my T.V. screen, dancing in videos. My older sister liked him too, which meant he must have been cool. We would spin his record on the family stereo, and I would pour over the album art. There he was, posing with a tiger. I would sing, “the chid is not my son,” not knowing what the hell I was talking about. There he was, singing from my radio.

News broke that he had been injured while filming a Pepsi commercial, and I was devastated. He was burned? I was sincerely worried. Would he ever be the same? From that point onward, I eyed Pepsi warily. I looked for evidence in Michael’s next public appearance (quite possibly the legendary “We Are the World” taping), and wondered if that matted spot on the side of his head was the wound he would always bear.

Tonight, I felt a twinge of that same devastation returning, but mostly, I was just sad.

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