I’m not usually a fan of the public memorial, but I sat down the other day to eat my lunch and take a peek at Michael Jackson’s.
Got completely sucked in.
(Don’t worry, BeckyLanders. There are no Thriller videos in this post, nor is it really about MJ. It’s about me. As it should be. Duh.)
It was such an interesting combination of church-concert-tribute-memories. Sad, but interesting. Brooke Shields made me cry. Marlon made me laugh. Parris broke my heart.
Then I started thinking about Michael Jackson’s legacy, which is obvious, which led to wondering about mine, which is decidedly less so.
Clearly, there’s not much resemblance between MJ and me. While he was busy being a child star, I was busy being a child. While he tore up the pop charts, I tore open the Pop Tarts. While he broke barriers, I broke fingernails. While he went platinum, I went gray.
But we both have a legacy. His is his music. Mine? I dunno.
I can narrow it down. I won’t be remembered for trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat. Or getting arrested for dog-fighting. Or dying in a vat of melted chocolate. Or becoming part of a group known as “Furries” who dress up like team mascot animals and create inappropriate spectacles of themselves at parties. (I prefer to create an inappropriate spectacle of myself dressed in jeans and sneakers. Not at all like them.) Nor will I need to be tased after biting a Sheriff’s deputy. And I definitely won’t beat a fawn to death with a shovel after finding it in my flowerbed.
Swear to God, all these were stories in my newspaper this morning. The lady who killed the fawn, by the way, said she was afraid of it and used a shovel to try to make it move. I guess she thought it would move faster if she beat it to death.
But I digress.
My collection of Broadway musicals in CD, VHS and DVD format? My teapot from England? My photo albums? All my unpublished writing? My closet full of mismatched sheets and towels?
While my children will get all my worldly possessions, such as they are, I’d rather leave them something else.
I hope I leave them knowing how to laugh at themselves, at the world and at other people. I don’t care who you are, other people are just funny.
I hope I leave them a sense of curiosity and whimsy.
I hope I leave them with the capacity to dust themselves off after failure and to learn from mistakes without being consumed by them.
I hope I leave them optimism tempered with a dose of cynicism and street smarts.
I hope I leave them with an appreciation of history, both theirs and the world’s.
I hope I leave them knowing they can do anything they want, as long as they want it enough to work for it like crazy.
I hope I leave them knowing that true happiness and peace comes from within.
I hope I leave them knowing practicalities of life — map-reading, nutrition, how to keep their clothes wrinkle-and-static-free, defensive driving, and that sharp crayons make everything better.
Actually, I hope I’ve already given them those things. But they better keep their hands off my Broadway collection. I plan on enjoying it for a very long time.
What’s your legacy?