Sometime in the future . . .

“Grandpa, who’s that man in the book?”

“His name is Michael Jackson. He was a famous singer.”

“Why is he in handcuffs?”

“He was accused of doing bad things to children.”

“And who’s that?”

“That’s Phil Spector. He was a famous music producer.”

“Why is he in handcuffs?”

“He was charged with murder.”

“Who’s that? The man with the white hair?”

“That’s Robert Blake. He was once a famous actor. When he was small like you, he was in the ‘Little Rascals.’ “

“Why is he in jail?”

“They said he shot his wife.”

“And that man there?”

“That’s Robert Downey Jr. Nominated for the Oscar.”

“He looks really tired.”

“He was arrested for drugs.”

“Who’s that there?”

“R. Kelly. Another famous singer.”

“Was he arrested for something?”

“Yes. But let’s not talk about it.”

And the sports figures

“Who’s that, Grandpa? The tall man in the nice suit?”

“That’s Kobe Bryant. He was a great basketball player.”

“Why is he before a judge?”

“He was charged with doing something bad to a woman.”

“And that man there? The one who looks angry?”

“That’s Mike Tyson. He was the best boxer of his time.”

“But he’s not boxing. He’s wearing an orange outfit.”

“He was in jail. He did something bad to a woman, too.”

“Who’s that man there? The other tall one?”

“Jayson Williams, another basketball player. He was arrested, too.”

“Did he do something bad to a woman?”

“No. He was charged with shooting a man.”

“Ooh — look. There’s lots of pictures of that guy.”

“Yes. O.J. Simpson. He was famous for running a football — and later for being on TV.”

“Who are all those men around him?”

“Lawyers. He was accused of killing his wife and her friend.”

“Was he famous, too?”

“Yes, he was.”

“Do you have to do something bad if you’re famous?”

“No. It only seems that way.”

“Look at that man. Is he a clown?”

“That’s Pee-wee Herman. He used to entertain children.”

“What did he get arrested for?”

“Let’s not talk about it.”

And the rest

“Who’s that lady? The one with the dark hair?”

“Winona Ryder, an actress with great talent.”

“What did she do?”

“She was arrested for shoplifting.”

“And that lady there?”

“Courtney Love.”

“Pretty name.”

“Arrested for drugs.”

“And that handsome man?”

“Hugh Grant, another actor.”

“Did he do something wrong?”

“Got caught with a woman who, well, he shouldn’t have been with.”

“And that woman there?”

“Tonya Harding.”

“What did she do?”

“It’s complicated.”

“Hey, Grandpa. Who’s that? Over there? In the picture frames?”

“Well, let’s see . . . that’s your Aunt Doris, that’s your Uncle Jack, that’s your grandma and your cousins, Marsha, Jesse and Doreen.”

“They’re not as pretty as the other people.”

“I guess not.”

“Were they famous?”


“Did they get arrested?”


“Not a single one?”

“Not a single one.”

“Hmm, tell me more about them.”

“With pleasure . . .”

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or He will sign copies of “The Five People You Meet In Heaven” at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Borders in Grosse Pointe, at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Waldenbooks in Novi’s Twelve Oaks Mall and at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Waldenbooks in Auburn Hills’ Great Lakes Crossing.

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