"I'm starting with the man in the mirror" -or- Number 7

It's a sad day for this person. For this person who literally wanted to be Michael Jackson when she grew up. I don't mean I wanted to be just like him, I mean I wanted to be him. I was very young. I don't think I quite grasped the concept of boys and girls, let alone the subtle difference between being someone and wanting to be like them when you grow up. Either way, I should thank my lucky stars that my three-year old self did not get her wish. Because, well, it would be weird considering how things turned out for old MJ. But, I still worship his music. Always have, always will.

I thought the quote from Micheal's song was appropriate given Chuck Yates' number 7. Fifteen points to the first person who names the song (Come on, someone has got to want to play. No one has played in so long!)

Number 7

Number Seven: “To thine own self be true.” (8) So says Polonius to his son Laertes in Hamlet. Of course, if you know the play, you also know that poor Polonius didn’t follow his own advice. His walk didn’t match his talk, and he walked himself into a fatal compromise. You can pay a pretty high price for not being true to yourself.

The trouble is, it’s not always easy to keep faith with yourself either, because what Lincoln said is also true: “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time...” (9)
So no matter how pure your heart may be, you will be tempted to try fooling someone, sooner or later. And then you’ll find out that there’s always gonna be that one person you just flat can’t fool.

You know who I’m talking about — that person looking back at you from the mirror. No matter how good your groove may be, if it’s not straight and narrow, that person in the mirror will know. One day you’ll look in the glass and there you’ll be, looking back at yourself, shaking your head, and saying “Chuck warned you about me, remember?”

On the other hand, if you can look that person right in the eye, every time, you can be pretty confident that your walk and your talk are going in the same direction, and you’re not gonna end up like Polonius, unceremoniously run through by the Prince of Denmark while trying to eavesdrop from behind a curtain in the queen’s bedchamber.

In any case, do the best you can, because that way, no matter what happens, you’ll always know that you tried. And that person in the mirror will know too. But do it with the awareness that your best ain’t always gonna cut it. And when you do mess things up, be the first one to step up, and own up, and do what you can to fix what you broke.

And forgive — always forgive. Forgiveness is not about letting the other person off the hook; it’s not about the other person at all. It’s about you, about the kind of person you want to be, about how you define yourself as a moral agent.

You may have noticed that pretty much all of the high stakes moral choices work this way. Human rights, animal rights, non-violence, capital punishment, Pro-Choice or Pro-Life, you name it — the Truth may be Out There, but as far as I know, Mulder and Scully haven’t found it yet. Until someone does find it, and we actually do have an external moral standard that we can all accept, without getting all tangled up about whose god is God or whose law is The Law, or whose truth is The Truth, I think we’re gonna be stuck with asking ourselves “what kind of person do I want to be.”

So forgive others when they step on your feet. Remember, they probably didn’t do it on purpose. And forgive yourself when you trip over your own feet and fall flat on your face. You sure didn’t do that on purpose, so don’t beat yourself up over it. Just start paying more attention to where you put your feet.

8. William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act I, Scene 3, Line 78, in G. Blakemore Evans et al, eds. The Riverside Shakespeare, Sixth Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1974, 1147.
9. Attributed to Abraham Lincoln, At www.quotationspage.com/quote/27074.html.


  1. I'm no Jackson buff, but isn't it just called "Man in the Mirror"? :) This isn't an MJ memory, but my co-worker was telling me that she's worked for the federal govt since Nov. And not once during this entire time has she ever heard anyone discussing current events or bits of news traveling the hall way, not the presidential elections, not the revolution in Iran. Nothing until yesterday when one of the judges walked out of his office to announce that the king of pop was dead.

  2. It's amazing how many kids growing up wanted to be MJ. I'm certainly one of them. The point you make about knowing the concept of girls and boys is also interesting to think about now. I never thought about MJ "blurring the lines" of his sexuality. As a kid I thought he was a "man's man". But looking back now it sorta becomes clearer. It's suble, but clearer. Thx for the thoughts!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts