Dispatches from Suburbia

If I played an instrument, I would have a band called "The Simon Thomsen Sex Tape"; and other musings, rants, and disconnected ramblings.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Our Troubling Times

"If you never heard him sing/ I guess you won't too soon."
-Neil Young, "Tonight's the Night"

2006 is coming to an end, and it seems to me that it was a good year. I hate to say that before the new year, for fear of jinxing myself, but I'm staying hopeful.

2005 was a much different story. First of all, that year was book ended by the deaths of two of my heroes: Hunter S. Thompson and Richard Pryor. In between those deaths, my friend Chris also died from an epileptic seizure, another Chris with whom I graduated from high school died in Iraq, my father had a meltdown, and that bitch Katrina devastated the south.

It was at Chris's (the epileptic one) funeral that I suddenly gained a ton of perspective on my own life and existence. I'd been to funerals--my grandmother's and my great grandfather's--but I'd never interacted with them on a regular basis. Chris was a different story. One weekend I'm hanging out with him at a party, and the next weekend he's gone forever.

A single life is full of important ceremonies: weddings, graduations, birthdays, and the like. But there's one event that we're really not involved in the planning. Our funeral.

As I sat in the church, listening to Chris's grandfather giving a heartfelt eulogy and somehow keeping a remarkable composure, I wondered what my eulogy would be like. Who would give it? Would it be a celebration of my life or one of those devastating funerals? Who would be there?

It's a morbid topic to ponder, but it's humbling. Sure, it's a little bit self-absorbed, considering that in New Orleans, at that time, bodies were piling up, and the same goes for Iraq (oh, and the tsunami near the end of 2004). But those tremendous losses are all that much more devastating, and human, when you think about it as a single life lost, like your own, and multiply it. It really could cause one to shudder.

My point is this: 2005 sucked the big one. Even RollingStone had a special double-issue with a cover screaming "Worst Year Ever!"; so I know that I wasn't alone. But out of the muck, the dark times and frighteningly real visions of death, I gained a hell of a lot of perspective, and somehow I triumphed.

So here's to 2007 and whatever it brings, the good and the bad. Cheers.


At 10:00 PM, Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

It's especially shocking and personal to lose someone your own age while you're still young. And there can't be anything worse for parents than outliving their own child.

When I was in high school, a friend died in a housefire with her entire family. It's impossible to guess the deeper meaning of such an event, or if there even was one.

I, too, hope that 2007 will bring peace, happiness and creative fulfillment to all of us.

A really nice post.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Excellent post. I finally got around to upgrading so I can comment again. Lost a few days' worth in the meantime. Cheers'

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Sorry to hear of your friend's death. It is a shock when someone who is young passes. It's usually so unexpected. I mean, you always think that the next one to go will be the oldest in the family, but when it's the young ones, It can be a terribly painful experience.


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