Mama Say Mama Saw Mama Coo Saw

June 27, 2009

With all my talk of getting old, I don’t know if I ever really felt it until yesterday, when Michael Jackson died.  Is this how it felt for the generation of Elvis-lovers?  I’m sure it’s a little bit different, since so many people really did love and lust for Elvis, and I, and probably most people, have mostly felt befuddled and/or deeply disturbed by Michael Jackson, the man, over the years.

But his music!  His music, as I’m sure many folks my age would say, was the sountrack of my childhood.  Not just my childhood, but my adolescence, and even my young-adult New York years.  My mom thought I was too young to see the videos for “Beat It” and “Thriller,” with their somewhat violent content, but I watched them, again and again, at my friend Kelly’s house after her parents went to bed.  I remember crowding around the TV with a bunch of friends when the video for “Bad” premiered as a primetime special in high school.  In New York, studying dance, all my teachers choreographed again and again to “Man in the Mirror,”  “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and that “Free Willy” song.  I did my first triple pirouette to “Black or White.”  In fact, a few years ago I realized that while I never really obsessed over MJ’s choreography, all of my childhood dance teachers did, and so I was brought up learning MJ-style jazz dance, minus the moonwalk.

Even as an adult, whenever I’m in a funk, all I have to do is put on Michael Jackson and I am flying around the house.  “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” is my go-to sit-ups song.  A few years ago, Herbie and I had to pull over so we could bust out, car-dance-style, to “Smooth Criminal.”  Once, at a dance party, I made an instant friend in Jenna the Great when we spontaneously recreated the entire knife fight from “Beat It.”  And two years ago, Herbie and I won a “Thriller” dance-off at his office Christmas party.

Every generation has that icon – that ICON – and when that icon dies, a generation gains instant age lines.  I feel like all stores and radio stations and public venues everywhere should be playing MJ non-stop… and maybe they are, after all, we’ve only been to AJ’s and My Gym today.  At our house, it’s nap time, and with all these songs bouncing through my head, the quiet is feeling very heavy. I can’t wait for Moo to wake up, so that I can, despite my new age lines, try to teach Moo the zombie walk.  I’ll save the spin-and-crotch-grab until she’s just a bit older.

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One Response to “Mama Say Mama Saw Mama Coo Saw”

  1. Beth H. Says:

    funny! and sad. R.I.P. MJ.


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