1986 - Rollerskating to 'Thriller' in the garage with my sister and the girl next door, Catherine.
1991 - Riding bikes with my cousin, Brian Rafter, either in San Ramon or in Palo Alto, while syncing our “Dangerous” cassette albums on our Walkmans.
1992 - Playing basketball in Palo Alto with cousin Brian and some neighborhood guys while blasting MJ's "Jam" on the boombox, as inspired by the music video.
1991 - The Simpsons, Season 3 season premire, which aired on my 11th birthday, entitled "Stark Raving Dad," in which Michael Jackson visits Springfield... sort of. (Despite legal issues that forced Fox to credit the voice of the character as "John Jay Smith", Michael actually voiced the character himself, minus the singing parts.)
1992 - Dubbing a cassette tape with 'Bad' on one side and 'Dangerous' on the other with help from my other cousin, Kevin Rafter, on the same day that Brian and I got bad sunburns at a water park and came home and fell asleep for hours listening to both albums.
1987 - Buying the “Bad” album on cassette tape from the Stoneridge Mall with my dad a few days or weeks after it had been released. My dad offered to pop the tape in the car's cassette player and we listened to the opening track, "Bad", but I was too embarrased to continue playing the tape because I didn't want my dad to hear me listening to the slightly suggestive love song that is "The Way You Make Me Feel."
Circa 1986 - Trying to decipher some of the more confusing lyrics to the song 'Thriller' with my friend Jimmy in my backyard.
2001 - While at a Giant's game at Pac Bell Park (now AT&T Park), I heard "Wanna Be Startin' Something" blasting over the PA system, and for some reason, even though I'd heard it about 500 times before, it felt like it was the first time I'd ever heard the song. The crecendo at the end with the chorus of "Ma ma se ma ma sa ma ma cu sa!" blew me away. The same year, I saw Chris Tucker do an amazing MJ impression to the same song in Rush Hour 2, and I gained a whole new appreciation for the song.
1991 - Staying up late to watch the premiere of the new video for 'Black Or White' on Fox after The Simpsons.
1992 - Playing the 'Moonwalker' video game with my cousins Sean and Brian.
1989 - Watching the 'Moonwalker' movie for the first time with my friend down the street, Chad.
2003 - Jamming on the new (last) Michael Jackson album, “Invincible”, in college with my roommate, L.J.
1990 - Knowing in my heart, more than in my brain, that Michael Jackson was behind the brilliant single, "Do The Bartman" from "The Simpsons Sing The Blues" album.
1993 - Blasting the 'Off The Wall' album in my room with my cousin Brian as if we had always listened to disco albums.
My favorite memory, however, is not a single moment, but the countless hours I spent alone in my bedroom as a child; just me and my tape player; just me and my friend Michael. He kept me company for much of my youth through his music, his lyrics, his energy, his image, and - much deeper and most importantly - his "voice."
Thanks for all the good times, Michael. I'm really going to miss you.