Michael Jackson This Is It
November 6, 2009
A movie of rehearsals in a big empty room can’t excite like concerts alive with screaming fans, but I still hope you enjoy This Is It because that’s what it is. My dancers show why when we first gather in March. Hundreds have come from all over the world to compete in rigorous auditions from which only eleven are chosen, and the opportunity to perform with me, to be part of my family, to share my love, makes them emotional and teary, and everyone’s thrilled because they believe in me.
I’m never comfortable under so much pressure. As a child in Gary, Indiana, after replacing an older brother as lead singer of the Jackson Five, I have to carry the hopes of a large family on my frail back. Is it right that I, more than the others combined, thrill listeners on radio and in concert and guarantee we’ll all soon be stars? I then worry if I can continue to be cute and dynamic and maintain a heavenly voice. What will I do if people suddenly stop loving me?
We won’t get into that. We don’t have to. This Is It. And I’m sliding, gliding, high-stepping, and spinning as fast and smooth as muscular young men who scare me every day. When you’re fifty, try dancing with the next generation. I hope my fear isn’t always obvious, and maybe it’s not. I’m relaxed when the medications work and I’ve slept a little. I’m not trying to be loaded. I’m battling time and trauma and malnutrition to again become the greatest entertainer in the world. That’s what’s expected.
Everyone will have an opinion. Beautiful Rita Hayworth sings her approval on video then tosses me a flower before Humphrey Bogart frowns and fires his machinegun at me. I know some critics will also seek to destroy but my fans won’t let them, if I deliver as I did before so much changed.
I’ll be ready. “I’ll Be There.” Listen to my voice. It’s sweet and pure as ever, and fellow musicians and dancers clap and cheer after watching me perform “Billie Jean.” They know I can still do it. I appreciate their support and am always polite. They don’t have to be so deferential. We’re a family. We have love.
But I must start getting more relaxation and sleep. A special doctor is helping me. I’ve had many wonderful doctors with the finest medications but none is as attentive as Dr. Conrad Murray. He’s at my rented mansion all the time. He’s beside my bed at one-thirty a.m. on June twenty-fifth when I tell him I can’t stand being awake all the time. He gives me a ten-milligram tablet of valium. I know that’s too weak. At two a.m. the doctor inserts my IV. That’s what I need. Diprivan will work.
No, says the careful doctor, I think you’re becoming addicted. I’ll instead give you two milligrams of Ativan to reduce your anxiety. It doesn’t, though, and at three a.m. I receive two milligrams of Versed, which is five times stronger than valium. I still remain nightmarishly awake and worried and at five a.m. I urge the doctor. No Diprivan, he says. Let’s go with two more milligrams of Ativan. At seven-thirty I tell him about pain he tries to erase with a final two milligrams of Versed. By ten-thirty a.m. I can’t bear it. I have more rehearsals then must go to London and deliver songs, dances, and thrills, yet I can’t stop the fire in my head. Please, Dr. Murray, give me my beautiful milk of amnesia others get only in hospitals. The doctor says all right, but just twenty-five milligrams, half your normal dose. Thank you for euphoria. This is it.