One day, Michael decided he wanted a llama. He asked me to take him to nearby Agora and we ended up at this lot packed with hay and horse trailers. From the car, we eyed four llamas out back. I parked between two trailers, unintentionally shielding my Mercedes from view. It was the only parking spot available. When we walked into the office – two kids dressed casual but smart in T shirt and jeans – this guy, bent across a counter doing some paperwork, didn’t even look up when he said, “We’re not hiring.”
“We ain’t looking for no job,” said Michael, wearing his shades. “We’re here to buy a llama.”
The man looked up. Not a flicker of recognition on his face. It took me about two seconds to know that his musical taste ventured nowhere near the Thriller album. “We don’t have any llamas,” he said. The look on his face said it all: you can’t afford it.
“You have four of them out back,” I said, trying to keep calm.
“You know how much they cost?”
Michael smiled. “We know how much they cost.”
Then came an incredible bombardment of questions, fired by the man’s prejudices and assumptions. “Can you afford a llama? What do you boys do to afford a llama? Where will you keep it? Have you ever thought about this?”
Ever patient, Michael explained that we had a house with grounds and were serious customers. “I know how to look after all kinds of animals,” he added.
The man begrudgingly asked to see some ID. Michael handed over a bank card. I handed over my driving license. And then night became day.
“You’re those Jackson boys?” said the man, his face lighting up. He began to back-pedal about how he had to be careful and he couldn’t sell to just anyone; you understand how it is. Bu we didn’t understand: we saw right through him.
“So you’re happy to accept me because now you know who I am?” Michael asked. The biggest misconception people had about my brother was that his legendary shyness made him timid, but he was a man of principle, especially where his roots as a proud black man were concerned and he wasn’t afraid to speak up on this when riled.
Michael took back his ID and came right out with it: “You are an ass, and we don’t want to spend our money in here any more.”
Then we walked out to the Mercedes the man had failed to spot when we arrived.
- Jermaine Jackson, You Are Not Alone
“When Mother picked Michael’s shoes one day, she noticed gaping soles in the holes and brought him a new pair. He refused to wear them. I had to plead with him to discard the old shoes and, really tempting fate, to change his socks. Forget about it. “La Toya, these things are not important”, he said. “Why do people care about clothes? Music is what’s important to me, how it sounds, that I get it right. And why do we care about having new shoes? What about the man who has no shoes? Or the man who has no feet?… These are great shoes […] and I’m going to keep wearing them.” … At home, it was back to wrinkled jeans and old sweaters…”
Excerpts from La Toya’s book’s Growing up in the Jackson Family
“Oh God no. We had many talks about that (his looks). He had that inner light and he always considered himself to be extremely ugly. He said he’s not a handsome man. ‘That’s why I don’t do interviews and I don’t go on talk shows.’ He said ‘First of all, I don’t lead an interesting life, I work all of the time’ (and that’s what he did, he worked all of the time).
He never did really understand that he had that inner light.
Sitting and talking to Michael I would look into his eyes and I could see for 1,000 miles. He had these most incredible eyes. They come off good on film, but nothing like in person. When you’re actually sitting across there looking at him. Those eyes were unbelievable. There were times it would just stop me in my tracks and there were times I’d be around him where I’d kind of forget who he was and then it would dawn on me….’I’m sitting here next to Michael Jackson.’ I never really got over that. There were times he would do these quick little step things and they were like lightening. It was just so quick, so precise and just amazing.” - David Nordahl
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I’ve always wanted to be able to tell stories, you know, stories that came from my soul. I’d like to sit by a fire and tell people stories-make them see pictures, make them cry and laugh, take them anywhere emotionally with something as deceptively simple as words. I’d like to tell tales to move their souls and transform them. I’ve always wanted to be able to do that. Imagine how the great writers must feel, knowing they have that power.
Michael Jackson, Moonwalk
“My appearance began to really change when I was about fourteen. I grew quite a bit in height. People who didn’t know me would come into a room expecting to be introduced to cute little Michael Jackson and they would walk right past me. I would say “I’m Michael,” and they’d look doubtful. Michael was a cute little kid; I was a gangly adolescent heading toward five feet ten inches. I was not the person they expected or even wanted to see. Adolescence is hard enough, but imagine having your own natural insecurities about the changes your body is undergoing heightened by the negative reaction of others.”
Michael Jackson | Moonwalk