I haven't pieced together what, if anything, I have to say worthwhile about Michael Jackson... Michael Jackson, RIP by Mark Evanier, Dying in Slow-Motion by David Schmader, Some personal thoughts on Michael Jackson's passing by Drew McWeeny, No, Really, Michael Jackson Was Crazier Than Anyone Else Has Ever Dreamed of Being by Lindy West and History is rarely the whole story by Richard Harland Smith are all good starting places for things I've thought since then.
But in another way the most interesting was my friend. She says she never owned a Michael Jackson album. And I'm not here to present any skepticism. I've seen her various music collections on LP and CD and see now reason to be dubious. She says she was led to look up people she once on Google. I'm not sure if even wholly conscious of the connection. It was some part of our lives, as people of a certain age, that was gone suddenly and it's hard not to get thinking about... well, life.
Her quest got me to thinking about the times I've looked up old flames, friends and what have you on the Internet. Or simply gone through a directory of people I went to school with.
Of those, Wade Bradford remains awesome, and in the ways I'd have expected. He's a professor and a dad and a writer. Nothing that seems like he gave up any sort of essential quality of what made him someone I was friends with all the way back in my younger days.
But most people make me wonder what was the point of being young and vigorous and alive once if it was only to lead to being another person out in the suburbs working a dull job to support a dull wife and make some dull kids into exactly what you are. I know there's some natural balance there and I know as a former suburban kid, I should have some inkling of desire for that, but I can't even find that.
Look, age has made me weaker, slower of wit and more inclined to compromise. None of which do I entirely appreciate in myself. But the idea that I would give up so completely and become just another assembly line person doing what those before them did and what they dream their offspring will do makes suicide seem awfully appealing.
Most parts of me are wholly of the white trash suburbs of Snohomish County where I grew up. But somehow I can't begin to imagine how or why I would force that on another generation or why I would want to settle back to that life. Maybe I'm just too stubborn. At some point, that life very nearly broke me as a human being, and I'm not willing to give it the satisfaction, even at the possible cost of my own happiness.
But I like to imagine I still have dreams and desires that extend beyond where I grew up into my imaginings of what life could be, should be. I never wanted to continue that existence for myself, even less pass it on to the future. I'm ashamed that so many that seemed they could reach beyond and some that claimed they wished to, have settled in to the dull sameness.
Perhaps, I'm just a fool. But I am not a dull fool. I am something else, and if my life is a success or a failure, it will never be just a carbon copy of successes and failures that others made before me.