Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

When a contemporary dies …

I am 37-years old. When you’re 37, or 30, or 35, or 40, people still tell you there’s a lot of life to live; that you have many years ahead of you; etc … etc … etc. Oftentimes, this is true. But not always. Life is harsh, and the harshest reality is that people of all ages die. We get hit by cars. Planes crash. We overdose. We get sick.

I recently heard the quote, “God laughs at those who make plans,” and while I’m not convinced there even is a God, the sentiment is on point. So is the John Lennon line, “Life is what you’re doing while you’re busy making plans.” We’re always thinking about the next vacation … the next night out … the next party. But there isn’t always a next. Those who died on 9.11 had plans for 9.12. My Grandma Marta died in her sleep. The next morning she was planning on having breakfast.

I hate death. I mean, I truly hate it. The reason I stay up until 2 am most nights is because I don’t want to shut my eyes. As Willie Gault recently said to me, “I’ll have time to rest when I’m dead, so why do it while I’m living?” I feel the same way. I want to run and jump and laugh and eat and write and write and write. I love blasting Rage Against the Machine or Tupac, because it’s an instant energy boost. I love playing pickup hoops, because I can feel my heart pounding and the sweat trickling down my forehead. I love distance running because it stretches out the hours like an old pair of jeans. I want the hours stretched. And stretched. And stretched.

I’m babbling. Two days ago my beloved high school classmate, Suzanne Dolson-Fischer died of cancer. She was 37, and left behind a husband and two young daughters. I hadn’t spoken to Sue in 20 years, yet I’m crushed. She existed, now she doesn’t. How is that fair? I’m glad there’s no more pain and suffering, but I also feel as if she and her family members were robbed. Of moments. Of July 4 picnics and Christmas Eves and Sweet 16s and weddings and vacations and quiet snuggles in bed. Her daughters will never know what it’s like to have their mother proudly looking on at a school recital. They won’t learn to read from her, or talk to her about boys. There are so many beautiful things in life, and so many unfair things, too.

Suzanne apparently had a firm belief in God and the wonders He/She offers. I hope she was right; that there’s a plan for all of us.

Because this one, I can’t figure out.

Sorry to babble.