On Saturday morning, I said to my Patient Husband, “If Michael Jackson faked his own death, that would be the ultimate publicity stunt.”
We’d been talking about how he’d been perfectly positioned in the early 1980s to become a mega-star, with the combination of talent, name recognition, a skill-set that matched the expectations of the era, and a sense of flair, plus the publicity machine from his previous endeavors.
I said that if Jackson wanted to make a clean break from his former life, this would be the way to do it: fake his own death, have plastic surgery again to change his appearance, and vanish to reappear under a new name as a corn farmer or a guy running a shoe repair shop somewhere in small town middle America.
My Patient Husband and I said it would be only a matter of time before someone called it a hoax like JFK’s death, so off I went to google, and sure enough I found a website.
I’m not saying I believe it’s a hoax. In fact, I don’t. MJ and pushed his body enough that an early end isn’t entirely unexpected; there were emotional issues and lifestyle issues that also could have contributed. Plus, he always seemed to take his stardom seriously, so losing the spotlight fifteen years ago must have been a blow.
I’ve seen statistics about how most young men who die of cardiac issues die from a first-time event (probably because doctors aren’t looking for cardiac issues) although I don’t have any on hand right now. In other words, while tragic and not something I would have predicted, it makes sense.
Remember that I grew up on a steady diet of conspiracy theories, though. The death hoax website made sense once I read it.
Why? Because they made a connection between Jackson and his emotional mentor, Elvis Presley. Who also died young of cardiac issues.
I said that to my Patient Husband, and his eyes got big. Because it made sense.
But let me tell you something that makes more sense: Jackson would have been aware of the cause of Presley’s death. It was in the back of his mind. And like many people who find an emotional mentor or a role model, he was charting his course after that person. I’ve read books about motherless daughters and fatherless sons, and both say the same thing: that a child who loses a parent at a young age subconsciously expects to die the same way and at the same age as the parent.
For someone whose imagination was power, and whose drive was the art of the show, that unconscious loyalty to his mentor might have been too much to bear. Someone who had trained and tamed his body for performance and through extensive surgery might have had that mind-body connection to unconsciously imitate in death the man he’d wanted to imitate in life.
Did he fake his own death? I doubt it. Did he plan it? Not consciously. But maybe in the heart, maybe there.