Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

George Michael, you guys. Carrie Fisher. Richard Adams, who wrote the amazing Watership Down. Vera Rubin, who confirmed the existence of dark matter. Ricky Harris - you know, Malvo from "Everybody Hates Chris." Most of the famed Russian Army choir, in a plane crash.

That's in the last three days. There are four days remaining in this putrid cesspool of a year. Literally anything could happen.

I'm a wild and crazy guy.

CNN's photo gallery of "people we've lost in 2016" stands at 118 pictures. And the number of these people who were household names, cultural icons, and just too damn young to go, is astounding. Looking at all those pictures brings back fresh grief. Damn, we lost Alan Rickman this year. We lost Elie Wiesel. And Muhammad Ali. And fully two-thirds of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, gone.

Are their deaths more important than the nameless millions who have died this year in war zones, in areas lacking fresh water and basic medical care, in neighborhoods ravaged by gang violence, in hospitals and hospices and homes? Are they more important than the four murders in my little town this year, including two that occurred literally a couple of hundred feet from where I'm sitting? For obvious reasons, those particular deaths affected me far more personally than, say, Harper Lee's or Boutros Boutros-Ghali's. There is no objective standard for the significance of a person's passing.

And it's not a contest. That's why they always try to find ways to keep the "In Memoriam" segment of the Academy Awards from being a Dead Celebrity Applause-o-Meter. By the way, the next Oscars broadcast will likely be six hours long because it will take at least two hours to list all the film industry professionals we lost this year.

Bottom line: I'm going to miss a lot of the famous people who passed. But I'm much happier about the people in my life who are still here. And in 2017 I'm going to do my best to make sure they know it. I haven't done a very good job of that. If 2016 has taught me anything, it's that life is about endings we can prevent and endings we can't. It's hard enough to cope with the latter without fucking up the former.

I have a lot of amends to make. And you never know when it will be too late.

Anton Yelchin was only 27, you guys. And George Michael was the same age as Drummer Boy.

Losing him would be hardest of all.


  1. Didn't even know about Adams. I'd put both The Plague Dogs and Shardik above Watership Down, myself.

  2. There is this to be said for celebrity deaths: they connect us.


You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.