“Oh Sh*it, I can’t handle another part of my youth dying today!” – Anonymous comment on SF Gate
I’ve been feeling weird about about the deaths of these two people today — sad, obviously, but also wistful. Then I read the quote above and really got it: it’s about the loss of my youth.
I was not an obsessive fan of either Farrah or Michael, but they were both such powerful figures in the landscape of my childhood. The poster, the hair, Jill Munroe, the Jackson 5, moonwalking, Off the Wall. I know they both moved on to more newsworthy things (basically going cuckoo for cocoa puffs), but my mind had frozen them exactly how I wanted to remember them — when they had the heaviest influence on me.
I so love this photo of Farrah, because I remember how much it made me want to be like her. Besides looking joyful and happy, she’s riding a skateboard and dressed like a tomboy. A gorgeous tomboy. She’s sporty and pretty! Maybe I could ride my skateboard and play soccer and boys might like that about me!
I also have her to thank for giving me a new hairstyle to aspire to so I could shake the dreaded Dorothy Hamill wedge my parents forced upon me. I am still on my quest for the perfect feathering technique.
Michael was so sweet and lovely in his prime. Before Wacko Jacko and vitiligo (uh huh) and the Hair on Fire Pepsi Commercial. I vividly remember watching the Motown special with my family and all of our jaws dropping watching him dance. And within five minutes my brother and I in our socks sliding around on the kitchen linoleum screaming “Look, look! I’m doing it!”.
Eddie Murphy killed with his impression of a crying Michael singing She’s Out of my Life (“Tito, get me a tissue”…oh the many times we got stoned in college, watched Delirious and laughed like crazy). Still, that song to me is one of his most tender (and rare) expressions of real emotion. Hasn’t everyone felt that stomach wrenching pain of love lost? He just nailed it.
And…just try not to bust out in a rockstep when you hear Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough. Not possible! That song gets everyone (including your funky elders) out on the dance floor. It’s booty-shakin’ magic.