When Mrs. Blonde and I first began dating six years ago, one of the first questions I asked her was, “What do you want your legacy to be?”
Last night, the aforementioned beautiful bride of mine and I were out to sushi with a couple good friends of ours when news broke on a nearby TV (yeah, a television in a sushi joint is weird, I know … but it’s authentic Japanese cuisine without the American jacked up prices, so it’s “our place”) that Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, had died. I didn’t believe it when the other husband at the table read the headline. Then, it settled in a bit.
“Michael Jackson is dead. Dead! This is a really big deal!” I thought (and probably said out loud). But, what does that mean? What was accomplished? What was left behind? In short—A LOT!
He is arguably amongst the Top Five most popular worldwide music entertainers in history, likely categorized alongside The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and maybe Madonna. He broke the color barrier on MTV. He invented musical notions and dance moves that will never be replicated. He’s won every possible video and music award. Thriller is still the most sold album in music history at 65 million. He became a cultural icon.
And—he was a mess. So fixated on his lack of comfort in his own body, he’d had over fifty plastic surgeries. He was accused of child molestation. He was quirky. He was married and divorced. He was addicted to pain killers. He had debt in the millions.
He has left behind three children. Little is known of them other than the third having been draped over a European balcony over a few years ago in what he later referred to as a poorly decided prank. Ya think? I worry for those little ones.
The 2000 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records honored Jackson for the “Most Charities Supported by a Pop Star.” It’s estimated that he gave over $1,000,000,000 to charity. That’s 1 BILLION … with a B.
After our dinner was finished, we got to the car and I quickly scrolled through my iPod to play us a tribute MJ jam. Guess what? Nothing. My music-obsessed 8,000-plus song-filled mp3 player was completely vacant of anything King of Pop. A day later it’s clear to me … Michael Jackson meant something to me. I just don’t know what that something was.
The man brought shock. He brought awe. He brought extreme talent. He brought bizarreness. He brought confusion. He left questions.
I want my legacy to be something defined. Something sound. Something unquestionable. Something to laugh about. And cry about. I want to be a man who constantly pursued the best for those around me by giving myself up. A brilliant husband. An unfailing mistake-making father who celebrates triumphs and leaves room for acceptance of error. Someone known and seeking to know. Someone replaceable only by a Love found not given by me but given through me.
What do you want your legacy to be?