Yesterday, as Generation X mourned the loss of a childhood icon, and while every radio station in Oklahoma City played Ben, Beat It or Billie Jean, I surprisingly had a different song going through my head. Randy VanWarmer’s You Left Me, Just When I Needed You Most.
But I miss you more than I missed you before
And now where I’ll find comfort, God knows
‘Cause you left me just when I needed you most…
Melanie Dewey, my BFF from high school can confirm it. I was the biggest Michael Jackson fan at Caney Valley High School in 1983, the year Billie Jean and Beat It became #1 hits two months apart. Jackson was plastered all over my locker. Nobody danced wilder and crazier than me when his songs were played at the Barnwarmer, Snowball and homecoming dances. I loved Michael Jackson.
Then, one day, I woke up and Michael Jackson’s weirdness reached a tipping point. I could hardly stand to look at him. He was not the same person whose pictures hung in my locker. I left him. I missed him. I never stopped waiting for the Michael Jackson I loved to reappear. I always thought he might, but it never happened. He died. And, although some have said he died a long time ago, that is just tragic literature. He did not die a long time ago. We left him a long time ago, in the moment he evolved and changed into something we did not like, and there is a big difference.
And, it goes without saying Michael Jackson left his Thriller fan base, also known as Generation X. And, now he is gone forever, and whether I cherish it or regret it, his music forever wallpapers the memories of my youth.
This is what we do. We change, and when we do, some people choose to leave us. And, this is what we do. People change and when they do, sometimes, we choose to leave them. And whether we were the one doing the leaving or the one being left, we still mourn. And, as the song says: