Nov 11, 2016

Why am I always writing about death?

Mortality, right? It's such a huge goddamn drag.

Most of you are my peers, give or take ten years or so. Our idols are mostly 20+ years older than we are, and therefore at the age when health issues and the cost of celebrity are catching up to them. Sometimes our heroes die at 27, but mostly they live until at least 60, and then they have a heart attack or get cancer or overdose or just die in their sleep like we all hope to do.

2016 isn't trying to be a bigger jerk than most years. I imagine 2017 will be even worse, because time don't give a shit [sic]. If you are my age (how the hell did we get so old?), think about the remaining artists and actors and musicians who have shaped our generation. They are ALL going to die, hopefully before we do.

When I worked at the bookstore, the death of a writer meant a huge surge in sales of that writer's works, which used to piss me off. Why can't we appreciate people while they're here? I thought. Why does it take death for people to realize how much one person has brought to their lives?

It's because life goes on, man. We have laundry to do and dinner to make, doctor's appointments and plans on the weekend. We have music to listen to and books to read and movies to watch. We have to hit the gym and get the kids ready for school and remember to floss.

If there is a silver lining to death, it is that it brings us together. It makes us stop in the middle of all that living and remember how ephemeral life is. It makes us appreciate, even for a moment, how truly astonishing it is to be here. It reminds us that the people we love matter, matter so much it hurts, and it reminds us that we matter, too.    

I learned when I woke up this morning that Leonard Cohen had died. While he was never a big influence on me personally, I do respect his poetry and his intelligence. I know a lot of people who are pretty broken up about his death, and you have my sincerest condolences.

Today is, also, fittingly, Remembrance Day. Very few people die willingly, and those that do, I suspect, have been somehow duped. So to put on those boots and grab that gun knowing that you probably won't return is the bravest thing I can imagine. Mortality, man. Such a fucking drag.

So today I raise a glass to you, Madonna, and to you, Mr. Springsteen. We will collectively mourn when Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop die because, man, are they cool. One day even Keith Richards will inhale his last cigarette. (Who am I kidding? He'll outlive us all.)

Ah well, and riot on.