Yes, my friends (and enemies in the woods), just when I thought my chronic fatigue sucked big-time and I had every reason on this planet to feel sorry for myself, here comes nature, that ruthless son of a bitch, to remind me of my petty grievances. Pardon my Swedish. I'm a bit upset. Once again it makes perfect sense to me why we people, who live and die while it's barely long enough for a tree to fart, need someone to blame. No sooner had I closed my eyes than my Bollywood bride, who was sitting right next to me on my Bora couch, asked, "Did you know Gene Wilder passed away?" I opened my eyes and I knew I needed someone to blame.
It's a damn shame, is what that is. It's a damn, damn shame. Please don't say, "Such is life" like you're quoting meaningful poetry. Gene Wilder is dead and it's heartbreaking. It means something. Don't tell me "83 is a respectable age." What does that mean? There's no such thing as 'respectable' when it's you who is dying. Respectable is an illusion. Respectable is semantics. Respectable means zilch to you when your temperature is dropping like it needs to catch a plane and rigor mortis is taking over what used to be a breathing piece of wonder.
Gene Wilder was a piece of wonder. I knew that when I first heard his voice in The Woman in Red (1984), an uplifting movie that much to my regret (oh screw them all) very few people cared to like. Well, I did. I was a 14-year-old kid back then that somehow could relate to a middle-aged man who, on the big screen, was told by the most beautiful goddess he'd ever seen that he was cute, available, but couldn't ride a horse to save his life. Oh how I could relate. I remember sitting in that movie theater like it was yesterday. Of course, it really wasn't.
Sigh. What can I say? What can I say that means anything at all? Nature is brutal. Nature is a son of a bitch when even people like Gene Wilder get pushed off the proverbial cliff and die. Nature can go to hell, but of course that's the one thing it never does, and it makes me jealous, frustrated and sad. Only a couple of months ago did I finally write the one letter I'd been wanting to write for decades. In it, I found the courage to tell him how much he meant to me even though I fully realized we were as much a stranger to each other as money is to my wallet. And now the inevitable has happened, and it keeps happening time and again.
My grandfather died when he was 60. That's me 14 years from now. And the older I get, the more I find myself wondering if perhaps I was brainwashed as a kid into believing that everything happens for a reason. Now I suspect that absolutely nothing happens for a reason and that it's a human thing to frame reality the way we see fit. It soothes us. It makes us feel better about ourselves. It blinds us. It makes us feel more important than we really are. When I first heard Mr. Wilder's voice in that old movie theater, I felt a sense of hope that I'd lost when my grandfather left me behind on this earth and everyone assured me, like they were Omniscience Incarnate, that he was in a better place. I hope they guessed right. I hope Mr. Wilder is in a better place. Just don't say, "Such is life." It's like saying you don't care but in a respectable way.
I'll miss you.
And damn nature.
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