(That’s not incorrect grammar in the title of this article; it’s literary license!)
Michael Jackson and his siblings grew up as Jehovah’s Witnesses, at least sort of. So did I. So I started comparing my life with his. We started at the same place, and ended up in very different places. Who did better? I decided to keep score:
Tough, authoritarian parenting was the norm. Michael, one; John, one.
Michael grew up on music; I grew up without music. My father was protecting me from people like Michael. No telling what I might do under their influence: grow my hair longer?? Michael, 1000; John, zero.
We had to perform to win approval. Michael, one; John, one.
We both went on stage, Michael to earn fame and fortune, me to win approval of the church authorities. Michael, 10,000; John, one.
We both needed to win the approval of our parents. Michael, one; John, one.
We had no clue how to manage our money. We either didn’t have financial statements, or didn’t know how to read them. Probably not enough interest to learn either. . In my family, we didn’t even know what a financial statement looked like. Michael, one; John, one.
I knew when I was broke. Michael didn’t. Michael, zero; John, one.
With regard to our sexual development, I would guess Michael lost his virginity before I did. Hell, everybody lost their virginity before I did! At the age of 23, I married the only girl I had ever kissed. We were both virgins. I don’t know why she got married, but I got married because I just thought that’s what you should do when you were 23. If you waited much longer, people might start to wonder about you. Wonder what? I didn’t know. It was just time. It wasn’t even about sex. I was so sexually repressed, I didn’t even know what I was missing. Michael, 2500; John, one.
Michael lost the favor of the church; I went to the church headquarters and rose in the church hierarchy. Michael, 2500; John, one.
We both left the church. Michael, one; John, one.
Michael got involved in sex scandals; nobody cared what I did. Michael, -2500, John, one.
Michael was extremely handsome when very young, and then got weirder looking as he aged. I was weird looking as a nerd before that was chic, and the wrinkles now camouflage the nerdiness satisfactorily. Nobody could be a nerd at my age. Michael, one; John, one.
Michael went to a plastic surgeon more often than I did. Michael, -2500; John, one.
Michael had more “friends” than I did. In the end, we probably had about the same number of real friends. Michael, one; John, one.
We both have known money problems. Michael’s money problems had more zeros on them. Michael, one; John, one.
We both had unsuccessful marriages. Michael, one; John, one.
Tens of millions grieve Michael’s premature death, but far more than that don’t even know that I am alive and grateful for every minute of it! Michael, 5,000; John, Priceless.
Moral of the Story: Better a live dog than a dead lion. Better yet, become financially literate, and turn your dog days into a lion’s pride. Having too little money has some things in common with having too much money; either way, if your money is bigger than you are, you will lose it. We all need financial literacy!
Thanks for listening in. Come back again! John Bechtel