It’s funny how things work. A couple of years ago I had a brief correspondence with Sadat X, one of my favorite all-time emcees, who was serving a stint in Rikers on a gun possession charge. I sent him my Curt Flood book, The Courting of Marcus Dupree and dozens of magazine articles. We exchanged a half-dozen letters. Though we didn’t keep in touch when he got out it was a cool connection.
This week a writing assignment came up and I had a need to get in touch with Sadat. I asked a friend who owns a record shop who knows Lord Finesse (a regular customer) who is good friends with X. Finesse came in to buy records today, gave my man Sadat’s number which was then e-mailed to me.
I got home this evening and called X. “Yo man, of course I remember you,” he said. “You just caught me bugging out over here, it’s all over the news and the Internet: Michael Jackson is dead.”
And that’s how I heard the news, just hours after the sad report that Farrah Fawcett died. I wasn’t jolted but not shocked. Michael Jackson was the biggest pop idol of my youth; he did not live life like he wanted to grow old. It’s almost as if he committed a long, public suicide for years. It was painful and absurd. He was seminal, an icon, a wonderful entertainer who was so deeply disturbed that he became a freak show. I felt even worse for Fawcett who has been sick for a long time. Still, they are both out of pain, and that has to count for something.
Sadat was great with me and pleased to help. When we finished talking, I called a bunch of people to talk about Michael and then went walked down to Broadway and 233, across the street from the I-HOP, to the Uptown Sports Complex, which is owned by a high school pal of one of Bronx Banter’s own–Dimelo. Small World, man. I hung out around the cages and took-in the place, the clanking sound of bats hitting balls echoing around me. The Yankee game was on the flat screen TV. I missed Alex Rodriguez’s first inning jack, but caught his RBI base hit in the third, and saw the Yanks jump out to a big lead. I also stayed long enough to see Andy Pettitte cough most of it away.
When I left, I popped up the block, across the Major Deegan and checked out a Kingsbridge Little League under the lights. Then, on my way home, I followed the game on my blackberry. I refreshed the gameday page every 15 seconds, and passed by a bar on 238th street when Rodriguez drove in two more runs with a bases loaded single. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough was playing on the stereo. It was hot and muggy but a shiver ran down my spine.
The Yanks held on and won a barn-burner, 11-7, taking the series and returning to New York on a high note. A nice win on a mournful summer night.