LOS ANGELES — Pop superstar Michael Jackson woke up as an average person today, in what die-hard fans are calling a ‘tragedy’. Jackson, the global icon for music child prodigy who coloured the industry with his unconventional behaviours and life-choices, began his day with an average breakfast of corn flakes and coffee, and proceeded with doing actual chores normally reserved for normal people, which included grocery shopping, paying bills and catching a movie at the local cineplex with buddies.
“I don’t know, really. I just woke up and suddenly had this clarity of thought: despite my abnormal childhood, extraordinary career and out-of-this-world path in life, I can be normal,” said Jackson while queueing up at the check-out counter at a supermarket. “It’s amazing. All my life, I just wanted to be normal, a regular guy with regular things to do, with no paparazzi chasing me or journalists writing about every single thing I do. Lo and behold, I wake up, and I’m perfectly normal!”
The former King of Pop, who started singing with his brothers in The Jackson 5 at the tender age of 11, said that upon living a normal life, he realised how much normalcy he’s missed out.
“Oh my God, I feel so blessed,” Jackson said, as he gave a VISA credit card to the cashier after being told his Amex had maxxed out. “All these things which the average people experience and probably take for granted… I’m experiencing for the first time — and it feels good! I’m like a virgin Average Joe!”
Jackson, who turned 50 last year, is arguably the most successful entertainer in the world, with 13 Grammy Awards and over 750 million albums sold worldwide. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style influenced hip hop, pop and contemporary R&B artistes. However, his great legacy had been marred in the later part of his career due to allegations of him displaying behaviours most people would consider strange, like keeping a pet chimpanzee and having macabre items in his collection, like the remains of The Elephant Man, the 19th-Century London man who gained infamy from his severe deformity. Most recently, he has again attracted the wrong kind of attention with child sexual abuse charges (of which he was acquitted) and the forced auction of his property, Neverland Ranch, to pay off his mounting debts.
“All that is behind me now,” said Jackson happily, as he pumps gasoline into his Ford SUV, a regular mode of transportation among average family men of his age. “The scandals, controversies and negative representations — they are all but fleeting memories of an abnormal past. I’m just a normal guy now, trying to eke a living and survive the current economic crisis.
“Oh Lord, I love the smell of fresh gasoline!” he exclaimed.
Response from fans and industry players have been mixed. While some hail the new normal Michael Jackson as a breath of fresh air, some say it’s just not natural.
“The Gloved One cannot be normal,” said Patrick Hilden, 45, president of the Michael Jackson Fan Club of North America (MJFCNA). “His whole being is about being abnormal, so that is normal for him. To have him behaving like the rest of us normal folk — well, that’s just abnormal!” he retorted, angrily. Hilden said that the fan club is considering all options to force the superstar to revert to his old, ‘Wacko Jacko’ self again. “If we have to sue his ass off to get him to be him again, so be it. I mean, what next? Madonna wanting to be a born-again virgin? It’s not right!”
Jennifer Olfis, president of the competing Michael Jackson fan club, the Guild of Michael Jackson Hard-Core Fans (GMJHCF), looked at the situation from a different perspective. “I think it’s good for him; he certainly deserves normalcy after all these years of weirdness.
“He’s given the world so much, and I think he should at least be able to enjoy his later years as a regular guy,” said Olfis. “The other fan club’s reaction to this is typical — Those losers are really more interested in their own strange obsession with MJ, unlike us, who really care about our idol and what’s good for him,” she said, referring to MJFCNA’s stance.
Allan Shapiro, senior music executive at a leading Hollywood label, said that Jackson’s latest transformation would not effect the industry much, referring to the pop star as a ‘spent force’. “Michael who? Oh, him. Whatever.”
Jackson, when told about those different reactions, didn’t seem too perturbed.
“Why would any of that bother a regular guy like me?” he asked as he enjoyed a McValue Meal at a local McDonald’s. “They can argue all they want, I’ll just continue enjoying my new average life. There’s so much more to discover about being normal, I’ve heard so much about it, like getting stuck in a traffic jam or being harrassed by a rude neighbour. I’m so pumped!
“I’m catching a movie at a regular theatre afterwards with some new buddies I made at the corner bar. It’ll be amazing! Pop corns, screaming kids in the front row, couples making out at the back — Wow!”
Jackson told the media that he will be auctioning off all his strange paraphernalia, like his gold-plated military-style jacket he donned in his ‘Bad’ music video and various antiques he mindlessly purchased during his many shopping sprees, to raise funds for “all the normal people in need out there”.