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MJ's gone, but the Thriller remains.

Throw all the gloves, sequins, tabloid stories about Michael Jackson onto the funeral pyre and just listen to Thriller again.


I wonder where the glove is.

The original glove. From the earliest time Michael put it on and strutted out to grab his crotch and made people go (not for the first time and most certainly not for the last): "what the hell?"

There are traces of his gloves on the 'net, of course---one supposedly found in a trunk belonging to Sammy Davis Jr., auctioned off by the IRS; another from a guy who got it from a guy who got it from a guy...

And what about the rest of his stuff? The wet-look tuxedos and the loafers and the facemasks and the red leather and the zippers. Oh-so-many zippers. And sequins.

Is it all going into receivership? Will the family squirrel it away like the monsters they seem to have been?

Will it go to his kids, so they can drown in some corner of pop-culture weirdness like their dad?

At the grocery store last week, I saw a tabloid front featuring one of Michael Jackson's kids, unveiled for the first time. But the bigger cover image was Jen texting Brad, or some damn thing. Had the editorial team made that layout decision later, after Jackson's sudden death from cardiac arrest at his California home Thursday, I suspect it would have been the other way around.

This will be, as one blogger wrote right after the superstar's death, the Summer of Michael Jackson. "My kids are only five and six and they know Jackson well from their brief YouTube excursions. They adore the man. And for all the right reasons.

"Michael Jackson is the best dancer in the world," one said before bed the night Jackson died. She was on the verge of tears. And I'm not afraid to say that I was too---thinking about afterschools watching Video Hits when Samantha Taylor promised to play the extended version of "Thriller" in the second half of the show.

Jackson was our number one celebrity. And that's not just weepy Big Chill sentimentality. We may have forgotten it, in the ebb and flow of Brad and Angelina and A-Rod and Madonna and Rob and Kristin and Jon and Kate and sextuplets and twins and Malawian adoptees, but Michael was the height. What other 50-year-old could sell out 50 shows in the same city as a performer-in-exile that hadn't released an album in eight years? (And will those tickets be worth more now, refunded? Or kept as a souvenir?)

I leaned in close for a look at that grocery store tabloid. The kid looked normal, actually, like he might escape the lunacy he was born into.

Or not. I remember what Michael looked like as a child. He wasn't normal---his dancing and singing were quite out of the ordinary. But it was before the rhinoplasty and bleaching and other transformations. And there was no sign back then, either, of his sartorial transformation into a gold cod-pieced disco-soldier. He made it to American Bandstand in 1970 in the same polyester dress shirt and vest every boy wore to grade five on photo day.

So? Where is that glove, anyway? Did it end up stuffed away in the back of an underwear drawer, losing a crystal every time it got bumped as Jackson searched for a clean pair? Or was it casked in a hermetically sealed vault guarded by glittery cod-pieced militia?

Will it go up for sale? Jackson, despite Thriller's place as the best selling record of all time, had no end of financial difficulties. Neverland Ranch---either a symbol of Jackson's pure delight in childhood, his exposed psychological yearning to gain such a thing or, after repeated allegations of child molestation, a place he concocted to lure innocence before he stole it like his own was, was sold last year.

Will memorabilia define Jackson? Will his world wind up for hock online or, perhaps slightly more mercifully, in swankier auction houses? Jackson died suddenly, after all, without the questionable benefit of yard-saleing the junk and archiving the important. So it's all there. Somewhere. Waiting to be picked through.

Me, I'd prefer a Citizen Kane ending, though it's hardly likely in our eBay age. I'd like to see the glove tossed in a furnace, along with the rest. Leave Jackson's questionable behaviour, his shopping extravagance, the trappings of his damaged life and lost childhood to the pyre. I've still got Thriller on vinyl and I'm listening to it now.

Send your post-"death" sightings of Michael Jackson to


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