Tuesday, March 16, 2010

an open letter to the Michael Jackson mime outside my cubicle window

Dear Michael Jackson mime,

I've been working at this desk on the third floor of the library for three years now.  It faces north, so I get a glimpse of the river, but more importantly, I have a great view of the intersection of President Clinton and Rock St., particularly the northwest corner where you station yourself almost daily to do your thing.

In the past three years, I've watched your talent grow and develop.  It seems when I first saw you outside my window, you mostly stood statue-like, waiting for someone to walk by, trying to startle them with your sudden movement.  Sometimes that really freaked people out, and I'd like to think we shared a chuckle over their surprise.  Lately, I see you dancing more and drawing crowds more often.  I don't know if you're making any money, but I can see people noticing you and coming back to see you, taking photos and stopping to admire your talent.  I'm proud of what you're accomplishing down there.  It's entertaining.

One day back in August of last year, some second graders were walking to the library from their downtown school, heading east on President Clinton across the street from your corner.  They were amazed by you.  When they came upstairs to see me, you were all they could talk about.  Everyone wanted books about Michael Jackson because of you and the music you were playing.  Other kids at different times have talked to me about seeing you, and I only hear compliments and positive things about your work.  I'm a little surprised that kids are not more uncomfortable around you.  You have to admit the face paint is unusual, and eyes always hidden by sunglasses and lack of speech would be off-putting, I would assume.  But the kids I know are crazy about you.  Clearly you're doing something right down there.

Once, I was in the Flying Burrito to get a late lunch, and I saw you sitting at the bar with your radio beside you.  Though you were still in costume and make-up, you were clearly off-duty.  It was very awkward for me, seeing you outside of your performance space, sitting down and doing normal tasks, rather than standing on your corner with your robotic movements.  Perhaps it should have made you more real, more accessible, but it just freaked me out.  Please don't do that again.  Don't sit in restaurants or bars or go to convenience stores decked out in your work clothes.  It's hard for your fans to see you that way.  And I do count myself among your fans, though my appreciation mostly takes place from three stories up.

I couldn't help but notice that you weren't over there today.  It is rather gray, but I've seen you out there performing in worse.  I hope you're healthy and that you're off today for a good reason and not something unfortunate.  I hope to see you tomorrow.  My days just make more sense when you're around.

Your sincere fan,



  1. I want to be entertained by your Michael Jackson mime!!

  2. I cracked up at this!! I forwarded it to Brian and Erin. In fact, I think I'm also going to pass it along to Eric. He is a big fan of MJs earlier work, and I would imagine that he would enjoy a Michael Jackson mime very much.

  3. I DEMAND that you take your little camera to work with you, and take a picture of him from your window then go down to the street and pose for a picture together. This is a GREAT post, but it needs the photos to make it complete.

  4. I cannot believe that I've never heard this story before. If Becky didn't already love the post, she'd love it even more just to know that you're keeping things fresh.

  5. Exactly, Hailey! I do love keeping things fresh. I can always count on Ellen to hold back a few stories for that reason. :)

  6. That is so funny!! I agree, pictures are needed! :)


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