R.I.P. M.J.

When I was 10 years old and already obsessed with Thriller, the top item on my Christmas list was any tape by Michael Jackson. A few days before Christmas at my dad and stepmom's house, a gift-wrapped cassette taunted me from under the tree. I broke down and decided to sneak a peek: it was "Off the Wall," with a handsome, sly Michael Jackson smiling at me (the peak of his unmarred beauty). I swooned. I was so thrilled and nervous that when I went to rewrap the present, I couldn't find the Scotch tape and had to rewrap it with masking tape. This did not go unnoticed. As punishment, my receipt of "Off the Wall" was delayed for a few agonizing weeks.

As I wrote a while back, I played both "Thriller" and "Off the Wall" until the tapes died back then, and the music moves me still. He was long gone to many of us, but the loss of Michael Jackson's genius is sad nonetheless.