Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thank you for the music.

Initial reflections on my top Michael Jackson memories.

1. March 1984: I turned nine and hosted my first slumber party. My dad was out of town, but he made a scavenger hunt for me. My friends and I followed the clues from room to room in my house on Parliament Ct. and ended up in his office where I unwrapped a Thriller tape. I remember being, well, thrilled. My friends and I listened to it over and over. Apparently Thriller was released in December of 1982, which makes receiving the album in March of 1984 seem a little less thrilling. However, the trusty scholars at Wikipedia report that Thriller was topping the charts for eighty consecutive weeks. So there. My dad and I were still cool.

2. Spring 1989: My grade school had a week called "Everybody Counts" every year. At each grade level, you learned about various disabilities and handicaps and the importance of being kind, respectful, and sensitive. Seventh and eighth graders (only girls participated, but I assume boys were welcome?) could choose to give up some of their recess time over many weeks to learn to sign the lyrics to a song. Then, at the Everybody Counts all-school mass, you signed that song in front of the whole school after Communion. In seventh grade, it was "Lean on Me." In eighth grade, it was Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." I have to say that the words of that song do still resonate with me. "That's why I'm starting with me . . ." I can still sign parts of both songs to this day, and boy would I love to see a videotape of the performance if such a thing existed.

3. 1993-1997: I can't remember how it started, but my college friends and I did a really stupid thing when we heard "Billie Jean." When Michael would sing, "She's just a girl that thinks that I am the one. The kid is not my son," we would then say, not sing, "That child is not my responsibility" in kind of a serious tone. Then, eventually, it morphed into, "This chair is not my responsibility." I don't know why, and I''m not even beginning to claim that we were funny, but I've been hearing "This chair is not my responsibility" in my head for a few hours now and it makes me smile.

What about you? Any Michael Jackson memories?


Anonymous said...

Funny that I have never heard stories 1 and 3...though I can appreciate that 3 is more inside joke for those not responsible for said chair. I mostly remember people attempting to moonwalk. I don't remember anyone actually succeeding.

Ps- during everybody counts, I signed wind beneath my wings. Takes restraint to not sign along when I hear the song today. LAP

CaraBee said...

Hmm, Michael Jackson memories. I was never a big fan, but for a couple of years in the early eighties my mom's best friend and her son lived with us. She had just gone through a divorce and we had plenty of room for them. Her son was three years younger than me, so he was only 5 or 6 (gosh, so young) but he got Thriller and used to play it non-stop, dancing around the house. I can't hear any song from that album without thinking of him.

I LOVE your new header!! If you want, I can help you make the body wider so they match up.

msh said...

i think i still remember some of the moves in my own personally choreographed dance to "beat it." my parents loved it.

and i am laughing out loud at #3. i love college. and i love randomly smiling at a memory. i, for example, starting smiling to myself the other day when i randomly thought of us chanting "let's hear it for CORN!" while we frightened poor bridget driving the bitchin camaro.

Anonymous said...

We loved Michael Jackson!!! Listened to his younger stuff for years even when he was already legendary! When our 3rd daughter was born (1984)she brought home gifts to the older girls. One of the gifts was THRILLER but I think it was purchased because I wanted it! My favorite song is the one when all the faces on the video merge into all nationalities. I believe I said "this may change the world"...... What's the name of that song? And I think Michael was so handsome at that time.

Anonymous said...

OOPS.....Correction regarding previous comments from Anonymous. THRILLER was brought home by Baby #4 for the older girls. They really lucked out because I believe they also received Cabbage Patch Dolls, could that be?

christopher J. Regan said...

Parliament Court? I didn't even know any kids lofty enough to live on, not a street, not an avenue or lane or even a circle, but a Court? Wow.

The first airing of the thriller video was treated like the moon shot in our house. Everyone crowded into mom and dad's room because they had the best TV, to watch it.

Nothing was ever the same thereafter.


Actchy said...

In my Catholic gradeschool, there was an actual rule that you were not allowed to wear more than one Michael Jackson button on your uniform at the same time.

CJR: NTB, but I lived on a Court, too.

WPA said...

My mom told me I wasn't allowed to watch the debut of the Thriller video, because it would be too scary, but then my parents went out for the night and my brother and/or sister let me watch it. I remember being so scared going to bed that night. The part where they threw up blood is what really got to me!!!

I still remember watching the Man In the Mirror sign language performance at the all school mass. It was MAGIC!

cake said...

number 3 cracks me up.

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