A Momentous – and momentous – Day

Now Playing: Brazil vs. Portugal. Not sure who I want to win, but I enjoy seeing the skill these guys demonstrate.

Tuning in to the TV today would indicate that this is a Momentous Day for a lot of folks. After all, Michael Jackson is still dead, and he has been for exactly a year. For me, not so much, though it is a small-m momentous day. I’ll get to that in a minute.

As for Michael Jackson, I didn’t care when he died and I still don’t. To me, he was a talented but way overhyped musician who parlayed vapid at best dance music into a superstar career. Come on, I mean Beat It, Black or White, Man in the Mirror and the really worst of them all, Bad (I can’t think of anything so incongruous as Michael Jackson singing “I’m bad, I’m bad”). They were popular but stupid songs, and I’d be happy never hearing any of them again.

And that’s not even getting into his creepy personal life, whatever the truth of it was.

I will say that I’m glad he found peace, because he didn’t seem to have much of it in life. I also must mention that the young Michael, as front man for the J-5, did do some good stuff. Always really liked I Want You Back. But the more or less adult Michael, not so much.

As to why it’s a small-m momentous day, I’m continuing at considerable risk. Karen’s already warned me not to write this or I’ll be sleeping on the lawn tonight.

Today is my old friend, co-worker and protegĂ© Beth’s birthday. How do I remember? Because it’s exactly one week before my birthday. Which means she’s exactly 9 years and 51 months younger than me.

I haven’t communicated with Beth in nearly 17 years. But we once were good friends – I considered her my little sister (she’d gone to Carolina, too, and was an avid Tar Heel fan) – and sometimes enemies. Particularly in the Jacksonville Daily News newsroom. I can remember shouting matches on many occasions. “Put a period on it, Beth!” I often screamed when she was busting a deadline, which she usually was. (And by the way, she’s another member of the Daily News Hall of Fame.)

Outside the office, we did much better. We’d drink together, go to movies and the beach together, ride bikes, watch football at her parents’ house and that kind of stuff.

But eventually, we moved Beth in our Swansboro office, where she covered Swansboro and Carteret County.

It probably kept us both sane. Even better, it led to Beth meeting a Coast Guardsman, Brandt, whom she would eventually marry. He was a really nice guy, and I’m guessing he still is. They made a great couple, I thought. According to Beth’s Facebook page (and she’s one of those Facebook friends who rarely posts), they have two kids and live in Louisiana. Like many of us J-school grads, she’s left the industry. She’s now a special ed teacher, and I’ll bet she’s a great one.

I wish my old friend (emphasis on friend, not old) the absolute best in everything.

And I hope it doesn’t rain on me tonight on the lawn, if my wise, wonderful and beautiful wife whom I love very much follows through on her threat.

“Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.” _ Anonymous


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