Friday, June 26, 2009
It's Good (and Bad) to Be the King
Officially, that joke about Michael Jackson going shopping at K-Mart has become unfunny as Michael Jackson succumbed to the effects of being the king of something yesterday. He was the King of Pop, and it killed him.
If you look back through the history of kings, you will see that all of them died eventually for some reason or another. King Henry VIII of England suffered tragically from being married all those times and from eating things like pudding of goose blood. Elvis Presley, of the kingdom of Rock and Roll, died after eating deep fried things and pills, followed by never pooping. And, of course, no amount of moisturizer could have saved King Tut.
Being a king is hard work. You have a lot of followers. People scrutinize your every move. And the amount of gold you're expected to wear is bound to lead to some kind of scoliosis. (Or in the case of King Midas, a severely painful affliction and deep regret bought on my an itch in a very unfortunate location.)
Beyond that, there is also the fear of being overthrown at any moment. Elvis feared the Beatles. Henry VIII feared James IV of Scotland. And Tutankhamun feared gangrenous leg fractures. And their fears were all completely understandable. James IV started an uprising. Tut broke his leg. And the Beatles were all secretly vampires.
Michael Jackson had his fears too: allergens, growing old, losing his fame, etc. (In a strange twist, he didn't fear public speaking, disfigurement, or having no beer money.)
And so, Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, has now tragically joined the ranks of the rest of those kings. King George, who lost the U.S. colonies to some rebellious shenanigans. King Lear, who lost all three daughters, his land, and his life. And King Kong, who lost his footing.
Michael Jackson, it might be argued, slowly lost his mind. He had more plastic surgery than is probably advisable. He dangled babies willy-nilly. He danced and waved through accusations, trials, and more Dateline specials than almost anyone who has ever lived. But, like most kings, he left his place in history. He was significant.
So, maybe he didn't defy the Pope and end up forming a whole new branch of religion or behead anybody. But he sure reigned a lot longer than that loser Edward VI.