BLOG - June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

We all know Michael Jackson died. Nobody in the world above the age of four doesn't know this. I promise. And I can assure you everyone in the world learned about it at the exact same time you did, anonymous person on Facebook who feels so compelled to tell the world about Michael's death.

Please know that - no matter how you phrase your RIP wall post - you aren't illuminating anything to anyone. You're just typing pointlessly. And that's a slightly less practical expense of your time than praying into an empty void.

"Courtney, that's a terrible thing to say! How could you!? You are a terrible human being!"

Thank you for that, reader.

"How can you not mourn the loss of such an amazing artist!"

Because I - unlike everyone writing the RIP comments - actually listened to all his music while he was alive. A lot (I hesitantly admit). I still have every album he ever released. I got Thriller when I was like six. I got Bad when I was seven. I did my forty hours of failed moonwalking practice. I watched every music video the hour of its release. And when he died, he didn't take all that with him. I still have it. Literally all of it... everything. Every album... even my inability to moonwalk. He didn't take any of it with him to his grave. Weird, huh?

Further, I really doubt he was going to release another album as good as Bad (what I'd been hoping for - disappointedly - since I was a tween). And I didn't know him personally. And I really doubt I was ever going to meet him (or be felt up by him, or twirl around in his Ferris wheel, etc). So what did I lose?


I lost tabloids.

That's the only thing I actually lost. And that's all you lost too. I swear to you this is true. And so, given that, I find it weird (at best) that out-of-context, generally cruel tabloid stories of a sad person are so interesting to you that you're actually mourning the loss of that.

I agree with you that Lindsay Lohan tabloids aren't as arresting. But the solution there is to just pick a shorter check-out line at the supermarket. That way you aren't forced to see them on account of proximity. And thus, it's as if nothing was really taken away from you.

"That's not what my Facebook wall post was about!"

Okay. If that's not what it was about, then the alternative is that you're capitalizing on his death to express yourself. You're trying to convince your fellow Facebook friends that you're an emotionally deep and complicated, interesting person. And the act of doing that is utterly uninteresting and profoundly lacks depth of character.

It's like when someone you barely know dies, you instantly become their best friend. That way, their death becomes about you; for you are the one that lost your best friend. "Everyone please mourn my loss too, so I can get attention out of this!" It's an amazing insult to the dead person.

And if you're not mourning the death of arresting tabloids, you're insulting Michael's corpse. Either is a little bit distasteful.

When any event happens, not everyone needs to add their commentary just for the sake of being a voice. All that really does is take something away from the sentiment.

So for the sake of the dead (and the living - particularly me), try to say something interesting to the living when talking about the dead.

Example: I figure it was probably Lou Ferrigno (the original incredible Hulk, who got famous by taking last place at the 1975 Mr. Olympia, and who wrote me a very sexual note while autographing a picture for me - thanks for that Danielle... pretending to be named Courtney so you could entice Lou to write a really sexual note addressed to me) that killed Michael Jackson.


I said it was probably Lou that killed Michael.

"But Courtney, he died of a heart attack."

That's what I'm saying. He hired Lou to be his trainer so he could get into shape for his upcoming string of shows. And Lou doesn't know cardiac physiology. And it's important to know cardiac physiology when training a fifty year old male who's really out of shape. It's really important.

May I explain?


Thanks, reader.

Okay, so the heart is a muscle, right?


And muscle is a living tissue. Right?


And all living tissues have basal metabolic demands. And in order for those tissues to survive, their metabolic demands have to be met. Should the demand fail to be matched by supply, the result is death to that tissue. Make sense?


Good. Moving on. With muscle, when it's resting, the demand is pretty low, so it doesn't take too much to keep it alive. But when it's hard at work, it takes quite a bit. Mostly oxygen. And that oxygen arrives in the blood. And you have a finite amount of blood. Five liters or so. And each liter can only carry so much. And you can't just increase the amount of blood you have when you transition from rest to work. So your body has to be creative in finding ways to send more oxygen to the muscle.

For skeletal muscles, this is pretty easy because they don't actually take that much oxygen out of the blood at rest. When the blood hits the veins (en route back to the heart), it's still carrying a ton of oxygen in it. So when you start working out, and the metabolic demand goes up, the muscles just take more oxygen out of the blood.

On top of that, when you start working out, you change the diameter of all your blood vessels to shunt blood away from the digestive system and send it to whatever muscles are working the hardest (and thus need it more). That and you pump it quicker. That's your heart working harder obviously.

And when your heart works harder - being a muscle - it needs a bunch more oxygen too. It's not working for free. Thus the coronary artery exists (through which the heart supplies oxygen to itself).

But the heart isn't like the skeletal muscles. It's taking up 100% of the oxygen at rest. So when you start working out harder, and the demand for oxygen goes up, it can't just take a larger percentage from the blood. The only thing you can do to increase oxygen uptake by the heart is dilate that artery.

And a healthy person can dilate it to about four times its resting diameter. But if you're in Michael Jackson's condition (i.e. an out-of-shape, hypertensive, fifty-year-old biologically black male), I promise you have plaque in that artery. And that inhibits its ability to dilate.

Thus, during the first half year or so of training, Michael wouldn't have the vascular capacity to supply a highly elevated metabolic demand. Thus, training him hard would kill him, Lou.

Granted, I could be totally wrong. Maybe Michael just didn't want to do his performances and so instead of backing out, he injected himself with a ton of insulin one day. Or maybe he overdosed on pain killers to kill the pain of "I'm fifty and weird looking."

But it seems pretty believable that Lou killed him. However, even if that ended up being the case, I doubt Lou would ever be blamed for it. And even if he was, it'd just be low level manslaughter (on account of ignorance).

Or maybe there's a promotional manager behind it all; some mastermind crafting a "Michael has returned from the dead!" concert flyer. That way, Michael - who was only faking his death - could do all fifty shows dressed as a Thriller zombie and nobody would have to know that he doesn't look that much better out of costume.

Or maybe the mastermind behind it all was McCartney. It's improbably possible that McCartney organized the Lou-Michael relationship because of the whole Michael outbidding him on the Beatles catalog thing.... and this was the only way McCartney could get the rights back to the songs he wrote.

Or maybe Michael read all of Farrah Fawcett's interviews and realized she was a self-centered bitch who had no respect whatsoever for those less fortunate than her... and thus he decided that people shouldn't mourn the death of a lady who would never mourn the death of those inclined to mourn her.

And being as he was one of the few people who could truly outshine her in an obituary, he calculated his time of death to do just that; to perfectly eclipse her as his last great deed to humanity (he paid for a lot of kids' cancer treatments... I count those as deeds as good or greater than outshining Fawcett's death).

Or maybe it had something to do with Macaulay Culkin.

Okay. That's all.