So, anyone that’s known me for years and years probably knows that I was completely obsessed with Michael Jackson when I was an elementary school kid…

The year was 1984 and I was in the fifth grade. Michael Jackson fever was sweeping the nation and like most kids in elementary school in those days I was hooked. So much so that I had a horrible black and red pleather Michael Jackson jacket that I’d wear to school (like the one he wore in the THRILLER video), even on hot South Texas days. This, of course, made me the object of ridicule at an elementary school full of little vatos in the poorest part of town. I thought I was pretty cool, though, with my jacket and my little mullet. Never did get the glove. That would have put me over the top for sure. I did wear black sweatbands, though, and push up my sleeves much to the chagrin of my father who saw it as horrible proof that his first born son might somehow be gay. Man, he’d get worked up if he saw me with those sleeves pushed up!

One day during lunch I’d had enough of the teasing and bullying and flipped off one of my hecklers with a ceremonious one finger salute which landed me in the principals office and got me a paddling (yes, they still paddled kids in Texas in those days) that I would never forget. I still remember the paddle had holes in it to cut down on wind resistance and to deliver powerful blows to the buttocks. My legs would shake uncontrollably after each whack. Ah, the good ol’ days of corporal punishment…

I stopped wearing the jacket after that, but kept my love of Michael and his music in my heart. I graduated to a black pleather Members Only jacket at that point, I think. All these years later, despite the degradation of Michael’s image to what we had up until his death the other day doesn’t change the fact that he inspired the hell out of me as a kid and left us with some amazing music. Forget about the chimp, the elephant man, Lisa Marie, dangling kids off of balconies, the charges of pedophilia, the crazy spending, the ranch, the horrible plastic surgery, and the Beatles catalog and just revel in the cultural zeitgeist that was/always will be Michael Jackson’s legacy.

Eclectic Method did a nice send up: