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where were you?

It sounded like a joke -- anything about Michael Jackson sounds like a joke -- so I didn't pay attention when my daughter told me that some of her friends had heard he was dead. Really, Dad, it said so on the internet, she told me. I gave her a hug and told her I was proud of her, and how pretty she looked in her new dress, and would she be late with the car, and all that typical post-graduation stuff. Yup, I was at Imo's grad when I heard about MJ. I won't go into too much detail about the evening at St Mary's High School, Cobourg Ontario, since it was -- I bet -- pretty much the same as any other grad anywhere in North America. Certainly it was the same as Sam and Thea's a couple of years ago. That is to say: long, hot, charming, repetitive, long, sentimental, predictable, sweet, and long. Of course I had a mind full of memories of Imo as a newborn, toddler, camper, scrambler and little girl, all of which helped to pass the time. And of course, as Becket says, it would have passed anyway. But the evening was a long one. Imo won a prize or two, as did almost everyone else in her graduating year. I have to say, I approve of the practice of making everyone's grad special. Hats off to the various do-gooding organizations of the town -- Rotarians, Oddfellows, Lions, Tigers and Bears -- for donating scholarships and bursaries and awards to make sure that there is an extra something to say after almost every name on the graduating list. It puts a little money in kids' hands, and a little self-esteem in their hearts, and what's wrong with that? And it gives parents something to gush about to other parents. Of course it makes the kids who did not win anything look like big losers. I made a point of clapping extra hard when they walked across the stage to accept a handshake and scroll. Life is full of hard lessons, and I suspect that this was not the first such lesson for any of these kids.

So, anyway, Imo dropped me home and kept the car and I went upstairs and there was the news on the TV. Where was I when I heard about Elvis? Can't tell you. Hendrix, Strummer, Cobain, Harrison? Can't tell you. Sid Vicious? Can't tell you. But Jacko, maybe the biggest combo of talent and weirdness in rock (lots of competition there, and the bar is set pretty high), is forever linked in my mind with my little girl's graduation.


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