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(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