I would have written sooner, but I was busy watching the 102nd hour of continuous live coverage on the death of Michael Jackson.
I am now taking meals in front of CNN and am thinking of installing a TV in the shower so I can still maintain some semblance of personal hygiene while all of this is playing out.
I am not proud of this facet of my personality. But I figure if I wasn’t addicted to lurid and gross over-exposure of news events, it might be something even worse, like mah jong.
If I was a Cubs fan, I might not feel this way. And if I was a man, I know I would not feel this way. But as a woman and an impartial observer, I was fascinated by the confrontation between Cubs manager Lou Piniella and his “star” rightfielder Milton Bradley this weekend.
I put star in quote marks because Bradley has not played this season like someone paid $30 million for three years is expected to perform. The Cubs knew they were taking a chance in signing him because Bradley, for all of his wondrous talents, has a long history of acting like a deranged two-year-old in need of a nap.
If you are famous in America, you are what your obit says you are. Usually, it’s boiled down to some silly line you uttered in a commercial, your divorces or other legal problems. If you’re lucky, your accomplishments are great enough to make the lead paragraph.
I’m glad I’m not writing Michael Jackson’s obit.
I can’t think of a more conflicting legacy than that of Michael Jackson’s.
I flash back almost immediately to the memory of watching the Brady Bunch and Partridge Family in the late 60s and 70s like most every other white kid in this country, and then being absolutely knocked silly by the talents of Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five.
I just wish I could talk to him one more time.
No, that’s not right.
I wish I could talk to him 100 more times, listen to his stories, hear him sing, ask him for some more advice, soak up more knowledge, laugh at his wonderful self-deprecating humor.
I wish I had known John Callaway when I first broke into the business so I had more years to benefit from our friendship. But I know I couldn’t miss him any more than I do today.
They don’t teach you about softball questions in journalism school. It’s just one of those things you pick up, like how to push “record” on your tape recorder. You want to ask an athlete about an 0-for-April slump, you start by lobbing in a few about his charitable foundation.
Of course, this technique is also older than hot type and any athlete with the sophistication of a little leaguer sees right through it immediately, which is why I dispensed with any softball small talk today when I interviewed Jackie Joyner-Kersee for an ESPNChicago.com story, and launched right into the day my high school basketball team pasted hers in the 1979 state title game.