I spent yesterday afternoon gripping microns with my face nearly pressed against bristol board. I’ve been behind on my deadlines, so I barely looked up all day, didn’t acknowledge the computer or tv, and was no where near the media until I left my office at four. I was walking downtown with my lovelies when I heard Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You” blaring from an open car window. I immediately followed the lyrics that I knew so well, and sang along. This lead to telling my companions about how “Off The Wall” was on my all-time favorite album list and how I remembered the day I got it… 1979, 29 Palms military exchange… I was 8 years old (going on 9) and I LOVED that record. The horns, the oh-so-diggable beats… and “with the force don’t stop…” was constantly on my lips… although I admit, until I’d gotten the actual album, my friends and I regularly debated what it was he was actually saying… “The Four-stop,”…..  “to the force, don’t stop”…. printed lyrics cleared that up, thankfully.

Shortly after the “Off The Wall” conversation with my friends, another car cruised by with the MJ tunes cranked. Huh? Now that was odd. Cut to the nightly news at 5pm… that’s when I saw the UCLA Med Center… and the crowds and the outpouring. My first thought was “Nah… it’s just ‘Paul-is-dead’ stuff”…. but it was legit. And to be honest, it still hasn’t sunk in.

I liked “Thriller,” but it wasn’t my favorite. My sister loved this album. She was 3 when it came out. She sported the t-shirts and the buttons and professed her love before the age of 4. And she meant it… she grew up with Michael, as I did, buying his music and watching with eyes rolling, his odd behavior.

But I will never forget when my sister and I showed up at a dance club in Vegas some years ago… she walked up to the bar and “Man In The Mirror” was spinning… she, and a total stranger, broke into full chorus, singing along to Michael. It was a sight to see. This is what his music did…. and those memories won’t fade.