Part of what makes me a good writer is my willingness to trade places with people to get inside their heads. It's a form of reverse engineering. The last few days I've been asking myself – what would lead me to that?
Denial is a force to be reckoned with for all of us. In this case we aren't talking about an old, obese, tattooed woman in a tube top and Daisy Duke shorts, (or a drag queen with a 5-o'clock shadow) We are talking about a handsome black man who turned himself into a cartoon character.
Back in my wasted youth – we had the adage: "Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse." King of Pop appears to have missed out, by about 20 years, on the last part.
Initially my mind rejects the concept of plastic surgery addiction. Nobody wants to look like that! Of course not, but I can't confuse the end result with the beginning slide down the slippery slope. On the cover of "Thriller" he was a stone cold fox. The rumor mill suggests that his surgery odyssey started with burns from exploding fireworks on a set. Burns are hellishly painful. Okay, I’m there without a problem. So you have pain, get addicted to opiates – then the script runs out and craving sets in.
The King of Pop can't hit the streets looking for heroin. The mind says: "Hey, I need a nose job. Then I can have some more of that wonderful stuff." That twisted thinking is the trademark of an addict – right up until the "oh shit" moment when the plastic surgery goes wrong. Then there is the even greater pain of disfigurement that needs to be eased.
There you have it. Who is going to tell a very rich man that he's gone over the edge? A father might get into his son's face and tell him the truth: "You're a junkie! You're destroying your life!”
What is stronger: the truth or denial and addiction? (That's a no- brainer.)
If you want to add a twist of the knife – rumors of savage abuse suffered at the hands of said father, just to make sure that Dad can't do anything to help his son. (The irony that the abuse charges ricocheted back isn't lost on me, either.)
The result is an estranged, bitter father who watches his fabulously talented son degenerate until he has to disown that son in his heart or break from the pain. How could he not be heartbroken years before the singer's death? Heartbroken to the point where his son's death is a relief – you betcha! Shattered to the point where he can't even talk about it – but babbles about anything else because he can't stand the pain?
There you have it; another WTF moment brought to you by the makers of Oxicodone.
I have nothing but compassion for the hostages of Neverland. Their ordeal isn't over by a long shot.
"This carnival will be in town for a long – long time." (Keith Oberman, MSNBC)