As I sipped on the last of my gin and tonic, I stared down at the melting cubes of ice, trying to process it all. He’s out of my life. Did we take him for granted? Were we so cavalier? No matter how it stands, he’s out of our hands.
It was a Thursday night on the rooftop deck at the Monkey Wrench. Usually a bustling and buzzing affair, this evening was the exception. Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, was pronounced dead just hours before. Instead of chatter about bum bosses or fresh flings, the conversation was kept to: Where were you when you found out? Do you think he took his own life? Farrah who?
The heavy summer air was weighted by macabre talk of an icon gone too soon. The medium-sized crowd, a majority of babies from the ’80s, surely felt the loss of one more thing taken from their childhood. We didn’t have Wii Fit or kickboxing On Demand, yet we stood three feet from our square television sets, waiting, anticipating … eager to mimic the next Michael Jackson video to debut on MTV. What was he going to do next? Choreograph a switchblade fight? Check. Make the sidewalk light up as he danced along? Check. Transform into a werewolf? Check. Pal around with a Beatle? Check. Even Mom and Dad joined in to see just how far he’d push the boundaries. “He was such a cute kid,” my mom would gush. “But why does he have to grab his crotch so much?” We just rolled our eyes and went back to practicing the moonwalk on the slick kitchen floor.
Back on the deck, the monotone hum of memories and theories and toasts came to an abrupt halt. “You gotta get down here!” an out-of-breath patron shouted to the group. She had just scaled the Wrench steps in five seconds flat. “It’s a dance party!” Tired of dwelling in the sad state of affairs, we descended to find out what had her all worked up.
We could hear the familiar drum sequence of “Beat It” wafting out the door. As we entered, the sight left me breathless. A large crowd, situated throughout the entire front bar area, was moving in rhythm to the music. Hands were in the air, smiles once again on faces … I think I spotted a moonwalk in the far corner. There was singing. There was laughter. The respect for a man and his music could be touched.
The impromptu dance party lasted into the wee hours of Friday morning. It was a scene I won’t soon forget. Perhaps it’s what we needed to overcome the sadness. Though the tributes and news frenzy will most likely overshadow our mourning for Michael Jackson, two things will always remain true: He was loved, and he will be missed.
Drunk Text of the Week
I’m starting this new feature for two reasons: 1) To laugh at the ridiculous things we text to each other when we’re inebriated; and 2) To humiliate ourselves enough so that next time we’re tempted to press send, we’ll think twice. Please show me that I’m not the only dumbass in town. Send the worst of the worst drunk texts you’ve sent to email@example.com. I’ll publish them in this space and on my blog, barbelle.leoweekly.com. OK, me first:
“We r gonna b bombed by n korea, so u shld get on top of me”