Michael Jackson and a Stuffed Platypus

So I caved on the WordPress Daily prompt again. Sometimes, these things are fun. It’s more exciting as a writer when you wake up and have no idea what you are going to write about today, only to have some random idea thrown at you and you just write. Here I am, writing to you without stopping…and GO.

The daily prompt today is called “prized possession.” The question is: “Describe an item you were incredibly attached to as a child. What became of it?

I can think of two prized possessions that I had as a kid: any Michael Jackson album that I owned (maybe that’s more than one) and Googles. Googles was a stuffed platypus, and if you genuinely know me, you know Googles.

Let’s talk about Michael Jackson first, even though you all know the end of that story. In fact, why don’t I just go ahead and tell you my side of the end of that story.

As a kid, I was obsessed with Michael Jackson. Mind you, this started back in the late 80s/early 90s, so he was still kinda, sorta, relatively, maybe, barely not as crazy as he could have been. I LOVED Michael Jackson. I thought he was so talented. His music rocked, and I probably had a seven-year-old crush on him. I followed him in the news and supported everything he did. I think I watched Free Willy on repeat just because his song was in the movie. It inspired me, OK?

I wasn’t allowed to watch MTV as a kid, but I watched anything that Michael Jackson was remotely involved with creatively. In fact, I can remember one day when my school bus broke down in front of my house (this was probably like 4th grade or something), and all the kids came into the house and we watched Oprah’s big interview with Michael. I was so excited to share that with everyone. How lucky was I that the bus broke down in front of my house, and I happened to have the interview recorded on VHS?

One of my goals growing up was to meet the man; he was my idol. I wrote him fan mail. I really appreciated his art. The man truly had a talent that was unmatched by anyone else.

As I got older, my interest in him faded, and I developed different taste in music, and men for that matter.  Michael Jackson faded into obscurity–literally, the man disappeared for a few years. It wasn’t until his death that I was ironically reunited with him.

June 25, 2009.

UCLA.

Michael Jackson is brought to the UCLA medical center and is pronounced dead.

I am at UCLA that day.

Right next to the Medical Center.

The closest I ever got to the man, my idol as a kid, was the day he died when we were both at UCLA Medical Center.

I joined the crowds outside the hospital. Some people were dancing in the street; others were crying and flailing about. I stood silent in disbelief, taking in the scene. I remember a black man standing near me with an old boom box playing Michael Jackson music. He was smiling; celebrating a life. I think I was in shock. It was like being at a Michael Jackson street fair, only; he would never show up to play the headline show. He was gone. Dead. We were all witnesses to history. That was the closest I ever came to seeing him live, but he wasn’t alive. I think I did cry at some point, not for the loss of a man I never really knew, but for the loss of a childhood icon that meant so much to me. You think that people like him will live on infinitely, and you will get to tell your own kids how “cool” that old man on TV used to be. Now, we can only replay his albums and celebrate a talented and tragic life that was cut short long before he actually left this earth.

Whew. That was sad.

Switching gears, let’s talk about Googles.

Googles was a pink stuffed platypus that my grandmother gave me when I was very young–three maybe? When she was young, and I was young, her fur was full and soft. Now, she’s barely got any left, and what is left is matted against her stuffed body from years of love and days of washing machine cycles. I used to take Googles everywhere with me. I remember leaving her (she was a her because she had a bow on her head) in a movie theater once. I cried and cried in the car until we turned around and Googles was safe again in my arms. Googles still lives with me somewhere. I think she’s in a box in my closet.  I don’t need her anymore, but it feels good to know that she’s still around. She was definitely my most prized possession.

Check back soon, and maybe I’ll snap a picture of old lady Googles to add to this post.

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