Friday, June 26, 2009

It really is black or white


Only history will fairly judge the lives that we've lived, because choices we've made in the moment are still too fresh in people's memories to afford them the ability to objectively evaluate our lives in their entirety. Having said that, there is only One whose judgment carries eternal weight and value and that is the One of whom we have to be aware. There are many whose tergiversation where Michael Jackson was concerned was done solely because of what they read in the newspapers and not from any personal encounter with him. Today, sadly, Michael Jackson is no more. Dead at fifty years of age, one can only wonder what could have been. And while we're at it let's not forget Farrah Fawcett, the blonde bombshell of the TV hit, Charlie's Angels. Farrah died yesterday too at the premature age of 62, from a debilitating bout with cancer.

While our recent memories of Farrah may be of her hard fought battle with cancer, her life didn't engender the kind of controversy that Michael's and his etiolated skin did, so her death hardly raises an eyebrow outside of the circles in which she interacted directly. History however has inexorably connected them forever because, while they were born in different seasons to very different backgrounds, they both ended their act on life's stage on the same day, and have both left enduring legacies. Guys from my generation (late forties) will always remember Farrah Fawcett as the woman who made us wish we'd been born a decade or so earlier (maybe we might have stood a chance at serenading her). She is the quintessential Angel for which the hit show Charlie's Angels was named. Her legacy? An incredibly beautiful star who lived life to the fullest, and graciously faced the challenges of cancer as it ravaged her emaciated body until she succumbed to its death-blow.

Michael still holds the record for the highest grossing album of all time with "Thriller," an album which also holds the record for the most expensive and most revolutionary music video of all time (it virtually put MTV on the map). Michael gifted the world with the now legendary "moonwalk" first seen in his "Billie Jean" hit-single video performance. Thriller received 8 Grammy awards and sold a reported 27 million copies in the USA alone. His legacy? Whacko Jacko. He is best remembered not for his pulchritude as a talented up and coming star, but for his complete and 'mysterious' physical transformation from black to white; for having more cosmetic surgery than Liz Taylor and Joan Rivers combined; for his best friend being a chimp; for allegedly molesting underaged boys... and the list goes on and on.

Life, unfortunately, is so fleeting and none of us really know exactly how much time is alloted to us. If the greatest thing we can bequeath those coming after us is an enduring legacy, then we'd better live our lives in such a way as to ensure that if they ended abruptly today the story and testimony we'd leave behind is one that we really would want written about us. So I'll simply end by saying, thanks Farrah and Michael, for giving us a glimpse into what mattered to you both the most. Rest well!

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