One Big Time News Day


Thursday June 25th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

If anyone asked anyone else “What’s new?” today and heard the usual robot response of “Not much,” they’d have been talking to a liar. What an eventful day today was, probably one of the biggest of the last decade at least if not the century, and I’m talking since 1909.

Farrah Fawcett’s death wasn’t necessarily shocking but it was major news. I know she’d been sick for a while but hearing she passed was a stunner anyway. For my generation she was one of if not THE sex goddess of our era. I can still picture her on that poster. Yeow!

Growing up in Milwaukee they just didn’t make women like that there. Wherever DNA like that was being thrown around that’s where I wanted to move. Not that I’d have a hint of a chance with her but I wanted to at least see her in person to make sure she was real.

I collected autographs for many years and I sent a request to Farrah Fawcett but I never really expected to get a response. I figured it would be worth risking a stamp and the time to write the letter so I rolled the dice and gave it a shot. I remember trying to be funny so I wouldn’t look like a complete ass or worse yet a stalker. I’m sure she had plenty of those.

I remember opening the envelope and not recognizing the return address at first. I’d had many of those because I sent a lot of requests out but when I pulled out the 8×10 that said ‘To Dobie: Fond Regards, Farrah Fawcett’ I thought my eyes were going to bug out of my head. I couldn’t believe I got a response from her. She even had sexy handwriting. Yeow!

Over the years I acquired quite a few celebrity 8x10s from people like Cindy Crawford and George Burns and Don Rickles and many sports figures, media personalities and lots of other celebrities big and small. I had quite a nice collection until I moved to Utah for a radio gig and ended up buying a house. My basement flooded and I lost all of my 8x10s.

Hearing of Farrah Fawcett’s death reminded me of all that but my problems aren’t even close to what hers were. I lost some photographs in a flood. She had cancer of the anus. In a contest of who has it worse I wouldn’t get a single vote. Not even from me. She wins.

What a horrific way to have to die. It sounds so torturously painful. Colon cancer is bad enough but ‘cancer of the anus’ takes it one step farther and sounds downright surreal. It’s something I might jokingly wish on a heckler because it sounds so comically exaggerated. It doesn’t sound real so that’s why I’d say it. It sounds more like a Marilyn Manson CD.

Everyone dreams of having fame and money and good looks and Farrah Fawcett had all of those. Her looks got her noticed and the rest followed and most people never have that opportunity. Again, life isn’t fair and nobody ever said it was going to be. She had it all.

Then at the end of her life the tides turned a little. She got older and her looks faded but only a little. She was still quite a scorcher and most 62 year old guys would love a shot at a woman their age that looks like her. What a sad story and I hope she’s free of pain now.

That was a pretty big story and combined with the NBA draft it would have been a busy news day but then the bombshell dropped and Michael Jackson died. That still seems odd to read as I type it but apparently it’s true. It was on every news network the whole night.

Farrah Fawcett was a major star of her era and had a fantastic career but she only lasted a couple of hours in the spotlight before the big story came in and wiped out everything in it’s path. This story is going to rival the death of Elvis and be talked about world wide.

I was checking my emails and someone had added me as a friend on Facebook. I looked at the friends list and someone wrote ‘Michael Jackson has died’. I did a double take for a second because it seemed so strange to read that at first. Then I turned on CNN and it was just starting to break. What a shocker in some ways but in others it was totally expected.

It might sound cruel but I for one am glad Michael Jackson is dead. He was the ultimate dented can and maybe now he can finally find some peace and happiness and love and all the stuff we dented cans are missing. He made millions of others happy all over the world but at the end of the day I’ll bet he lived a lonely life. Wealth and fame didn’t save him.

I’ve always liked Michael Jackson’s music and to this day Thriller is still one of my all time favorite albums. In the ‘80s it was hard to turn on a radio and not hear something by or about Michael Jackson on any station. He was more than a singer. He was pop culture.

It always bothered me to hear him talk about his childhood in interviews. His father was a mean bastard much like I remember mine and he forced all those kids to practice music not because it was fun but because he wanted to use them to get himself out of the ghetto.

I can’t be a judge of how or why his father did that but it sure did have a negative affect on Michael for his whole life. He was used and abused and turned into a freak show by an array of people who just wanted to squeeze money out of him. Yes, he had amazing talent and loved performing and made untold millions but that never did buy him a childhood.

His fans will always have his work to enjoy and he had a large body of it. He was one of the innovators of the MTV era and videos are still doing what he did in 1982. He had one of if not the best runs in show business history. Elvis was great but didn’t do it worldwide like Michael did. I can’t think of a bigger single act with more worldwide fame in history.

Everyone in the entertainment business dreams of a career like Michael or Elvis but it’s too much for anyone to handle that much fame in my opinion. The Beatles at least had the advantage of being able to share it with each other. Michael and Elvis became prisoners.

As one dented can and human being to another I really was glad in a way to hear that he died. It seemed to be sudden even though it had been building for 50 years. I hope he isn’t feeling pain just like I wish that for Farrah Fawcett. And Elvis. And anyone else who had to be the flavor of the generation that worshipped them. It wasn’t easy and I hope he now gets a chance to heal some of that pain. Maybe now he‘ll get to finally have a childhood.

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