What Is Your Problem?

Nobody bought more Michael Jackson vinyl LPs than we did of “Thriller.” The euphoria for anything associated with that album was cross-racial and intergenerational. Upon visiting anybody’s house, I’d ask if they had a copy. If the answer was “no,” I’d turn into a 1980s sitcom kid and say something like, “What is your problem?” (I would have been 7, 8 or 9.) If the answer was “yes,” I’d ask to play it, and while it was on, I’d lie on the floor and take long drags on the album’s inside photo: Jackson, in a white suit, lying on his side, one leg bent, looking at us. On the knee of his bent leg is a tiger — a tiger cub. I stared with deep longing. He was so pretty, with his absurd curls and isosceles triangle of a nose and creamy brown face. I’m calling it a photo when, really, it was a centerfold. But what did I want from that picture? What did I want from Jackson? Friendship? A handshake? A souvenir? A hug?

From here.

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