Friday, June 26, 2009


In the kitchen yesterday at 6:15 a.m., feeding Phoebe, who needs to eat every two hours, which contradicts the theory that "old folks" don't eat a lot, I ran into the living area upon hearing Shug Avery bark, a rare occurrence. Perched on the windowsill inside my apartment was a pigeon. With pleasant temperatures and being on the second floor, I leave the windows open, and in the week or so that I've been here, only pterodactyl-sized flies have visited us. The can of opened Fancy Feast, Turkey and Giblets, in hand, I walked further into the living room, resting by the front door. At first, oblivious to Shug's barking and my lurking, the pigeon continued to rest. A delayed reaction, the bird squawked or squealed, I can't decide which word best describes the sounds, and then flew into the air, pooping once on the floor, and pooping again on the windowsill, just for good measure I assumed. Little did I know at the time, that these movements wouldn't be the only significant passages of the day.

Almost with too much clarity, I remember the night Charlie's Angels premiered on TV, a Sunday night, 9 p.m. EST. I was a very young boy sitting on the avocado-green linoleum floor in front of large Zenith console TV. I recall the excitement and awe I felt when Jill Munroe came on the screen. I'd never seen a woman who looked like that, beautiful, wholesome, sexy, with a large, luminous, and inviting smile. The next day in my middle-school classroom Farrah Fawcett was all that both the boys and the girls could talk about. In a week's time, nearly every young girl in school had that feathered hairstyle of Farrah's, and the boys soon followed suit with a modified version. So, long before Farrah got her real wings, she inspired people all over the world to get their own wings. For that, I thank her, along with an acting role that displayed the depth of her acting abilities. The Burning Bed allowed me to see that others knew of a world that I knew, and with a knowledge of that world, I never once doubted Farrah's authenticity. She gave Francine Hughes, and all the abused women in America, a face and a voice.

Having a late lunch with my agent at a quaint restaurant in West Hollywood, the eager waiter, an older gay man with impeccable service skills, came rushing over to our table with his iPhone in hand, telling us that his Twitter friends were saying that Michael Jackson had had a heart attack. "That's sad," I said, and my agent and I kept eating. Within minutes, the waiter was standing at our table, reading us the Twitter posts from his iPhone. "They're saying he has died." Immediately, I sensed that legal, prescription drugs were probably involved; however, I wasn't there to gossip. I quickly got a sense of how almost everyone in L.A. thinks they are part of the entertainment industry whether they are or are not. From the waiter who could barely work for following the news to the patrons of the restaurant who were lamenting Michael Jackson's death to all the people in my neighborhood who were playing his music all evening, he was their kin.

As with Farrah, Michael Jackson was an icon. I remember watching The Jackson 5 cartoon series when I was barely old enough to turn on the TV. And when I bought the "Off The Wall" and the "Thriller" cassette tapes, I was only one of the billions of people worldwide who became addicted to Michael's music. My teen years were happily marked by MTV and Madonna and Michael Jackson videos. Then I watched with dismay, as Michael Jackson became known more as an object of ridicule than a genius entertainer. His many plastic surgeries, painkiller addictions, failed relationships, Bubbles the Chimp, and the many stories of his eccentric behaviors seemed to tarnish his image. However, nothing damaged his image more than the alleged child molestation charges. While I reserve judgment on his guilt or innocence, sexual abuse is a very sensitive subject for me. Thus, just knowing that young boys spent the night and slept in the bed with him makes me highly uncomfortable and suspicious. While I honor Michael Jackson's talent, I refuse to canonize him as many are doing. He wasn't a saint, as none of us are.

Life is nothing more than a series of passages. It's up to me to enjoy each of them as much as I can. Though that was hard to do when the passages involved pigeon shit and the deaths of two great entertainers. Cleaning up the mess, I convinced myself to be happy that the pigeon didn't take aim at my head. Then I made sure to put my focus on the image of Farrah from her famous poster, an image that I found online. And for a few hours last night, I listened to Michael Jackson tunes on AOL Radio. Celebrate life!

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