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Rated: 18+ · Draft · Fanfiction · #1795370
Patti, a Baby Boomer, realizes changes because of Michael Jackson's death.

The Beginning

Three days passed before I spoke a word on the subject. Jennifer was spending lots of time in my house then, and I didn't let her have the remote. Usually, if I'm awake the TV is on. It keeps me company since I live alone.

Michael Jackson had been pronounced dead by the California County Coroner. It was no publicity stunt, which some people thought at first because one thing Michael Jackson is known for is outrageous stunts. Nevertheless, the media shot of an ambulance became the video marker for Jackson that weekend, and for quite some time thereafter.

He died on a Thursday afternoon, or it was early afternoon Central time when the news broke in to whatever we were watching on television The news showed a video clip taken from a helicopter of an ambulance parked outside a sunny home in California And the newsmen said, “Michael Jackson, age 50, pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.”.

I didn't say anything on purpose. I mean that I didn't know what to say, or what to think. I was about to turn 54, and there had always been Michael Jackson. I know I listened to the Jackson 5 on my little battery powered leather veneered transistor radio when I was a kid growing up. I lived in a little town in south Texas, and there weren't that many choices on the radio. The Jackson 5 was on the station I listened to, so I know I listened to Michael Jackson.

Mostly what I remember about the sixties and the Jackson 5 was the skating rink. I went through that phase that most teenage girls go through, using the skating rink as a social avenue away from school. There was only one roller skating rink in the town where I grew up, so I guess I met kids from all over town. Everybody knew me because I’d taken skating lessons when I was younger, and I knew how to dance, and spin, and double rotate a jump. My mom stated me skating young.

I'd skate fast when one of the Jackson 5’s songs would get played by the roller DJ. I was usually a good Catholic girl who made good grades in school and never did anything wrong, I can say that now because I was sixteen at the time. I hadn't lived long enough to know what kind of trouble I am. Nevertheless, I would skate fast when Michael would sing, and I'd sing along with the lyrics, darting around some people and whooshing past others. Eventually the floor manager would blow his whistle and point his finger at me, and then I'd always slow down to the regular speed. I just wanted to go as fast as I could until I got caught. I was referring to roller-skating, but actually that philosophy has carried me through a number of years of life.

I hadn’t imagined that Michael Jackson would be dead in my lifetime. It wasn’t that I thought of him much at all. I remembered one year on the MTV awards he came out with Lisa Marie Presley laid a big wet kiss on him.

I like the way I heard a comic describe it. For about twenty seconds everybody was in a state of shock over what was happening. I’d seen the tabloid covers in the supermarket check out line. Somebody was claiming their relationship was a sham. So she showed us. I remember when she walked onto the stage that night, she was wearing a skirt and a white t-shirt that said simply “bitch” on the front. I remember thinking if her daddy was watching from heaven that he wouldn’t be very proud of how she waqs dressed. I mean if you’re going to be a billboard, you could carry a nicer message. So the comic continues, after about 20 seconds when the shock wore off and lightening hadn’t struck the stage, the MTV award audience decided everything was cool, and they started clapping and cheering. It was an odd display, but it made sense to all the Elvis lovers. It made sense to me that they’d known each other since childhood. When they divorced I was out of the entertainment news loop, but I was sad for them when I heard about it later on.

I didn’t actually grow up a big Michael Jackson fan. I was aware of him hitting big on the charts. In those years I was teaching middle school English, and I spent too many nights grading essays. I didn’t watch MTV because my eyes were otherwise occupied.

But one day, Michael Jackson impacted my classroom. Every kid that came through the door insisted that “bad” was the way to be. I was sure, as a language instructor, that this sort of antonym situation should be nipped in the bud before it ended up that people couldn’t communicate with each other. I didn’t win that war, but now the dictionary carries that as a multiple meaning. Times change language. Time changes people even more. Michael Jackson was mentally energizing to move to England one day then was, dead before tomorrow. He shouldn’t have died before me. God could’ve taken me on one of my suicidal moments, but instead of Michael the way he died. His back had indentations from where he had been laying on beads when his life passed. I often have my rosary with me when I’m praying for sleep. We have that in common.

Jennifer and I really don’t have much in common. I'm a lot older than she is. She just turned 22. We met through the friend of a friend, but that's another story. We both have lots of down time, you might say, so we spend it together.
Neither one of us has a steady job. I'm older than Jennifer's mother, but younger than her grandmother, who sends Jennifer money on a regular basis. She never manages to get financially ahead, and her world is in perpetual chaos. I think that's why I like her. I can live her emotions second hand for a thrill. I guess that's what I do. I psychoanalyze myself often. I’m bipolar I’ve been told.

When I finally said something to Jennifer about Michael Jackson, I felt the need to really express myself—like I should say something representative of the Baby Boomer Generation. Probably, one of those nights between Thursday and Monday, I laid in my bed, asking the dark room, “Why would you take Michael Jackson at 50? He's trying to put all that trial shit behind him, and he had a year ahead sold out for his show at the Palladium in London. He was going to do England with his kids. Don’t you know that would have been a great family experience, doing London for a year? The shopping he could have done! Instead he closes up rehearsal, ready to gather up and cross the pod, and instead ends up dead.

I think that was the first sleep he was trying to get, the point at which the rehearsals were done, and then it was only on with the show. During the summer of 2009, I probably had a dozen events, at least, of not going to sleep for the night. If I’m not sleepy, I don’t get into my bed knowing I’m only going to toss and turn. Therefore, I do other things, usually on the computer, if I can’t sleep for a night or two. I know if I haven’t gotten sleep by the third night, then I need some medical help. The longer one goes without sleep, the less functional your brain is. You can’t think straight, and you look like crap. This I know from experience. Michael had been up for three days or fours day, when Dr.Murray gave Michael a shot and walked away. That is how the story goes for now.

I was conflicted about Michael’s death in a couple of ways. First I was really sorry I hadn’t been more of a fan. I didn’t talk bad about him during the trial days, but it was in the news for so long, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who began to wonder. However, I felt more guilty because I never gave Michael his due. He had a bunch of hits, and he was {/u}the music evolution of my life.

When I skated at 16, little Michael was only 12—big afro hair and tiny looking on the stage. He was cute, but I didn’t have a romantic crush on him. He was too young for me. Jermaine was my age, ut he was less appealing than Michael was. His solo career kind of died on him too. I was busy living my life, and Michael Jackson grew up too. He physically changed over his lifetime, and I though he looked hot in the video with AAAAA. He was 50, I was 54, and the dark gave me no explanation as to why a talented individual was dead, but my misfortunate medical condition and me live on. It caused me to heave heavy sighs into my mattress, and some tears of grief into my pillows when sleep wouldn’t come. I was really sorry I hadn’t been a better fan.

I know how much anticipation he must have felt, leaving California behind, and everything he knew behind, and taking off to Europe. It would cause me to lose sleep. It’s difficult when your emotions overtake your mind because you can’t live your life normally..

Being bipolar means a lot of things. I’ll describe it more correctly later, but I want to talk about the “mania” part of manic-depression, which is what bipolar disorder used to be called. When I get manic, which usually happens in the summer for me, it is as if my body has suddenly started producing its own cocaine from out of nowhere. My appetite disappears and I start losing weight, I have lots of energy for lots of projects, and since I usually can’t sleep in that state I just keep myself busy.

If I’m happy and having a good day, I may be hypo manic, which is the stage right before the mania starts to get out of hand, or I may just e having a good day. Since I can’t tell until it’s behind me, I prefer to think of myself as due a regular good mood and enjoy it.. A diagnosis of bipolar disorder means you are moody, sometimes overly spontaneous, and if you don’t take your prescription medicine you’ll get so depressed that you’ll think suicide is an option. It’s not. Suicide is never an option.

Having bipolar is as if your emotional spigot has an occasional malfunction. This is a psychiatric medical disorder down to the biochemical level. Sometimes I “get symptoms” and sometimes I’m “just being me.” Either way, there’s no way to turn it off. Well, there are ways to turn it off if it gets out of control and you start hearing voices and other kinds of psychotic behavior.

This isn’t something I decided to have, and I wasn’t diagnosed till I was in my 30’s. It’s genetically inherited. It’s also the reason I’m not hunting for a regular job now. I take my medicine every day. I have only been hospitalized twice in my whole life for it, and I see a psychiatrist regularly. And, I receive enough money to get by, if Jennifer and I would quit going shopping together so often. She has no car, but she knows the best places somehow. We have great plans for an e-Bay store someday.

I’d spent the weekend watching movies because I didn’t want to see the Michael story over and over again. I was emotionally upset, and I didn’t think I ought to be. However, as I said, you can’t do anything about bipolar when you’re in the middle of it you don’t know. I never know I’ve crossed the line till way after the fact.

“Michael’s gonna be really pissed off when he wakes up, all dressed in his finest and gold, and finds out they left him in the dark.”

Jennifer laughed a little laugh. I felt a tad less sad.

Wc 2043
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