JEFF PEARLMAN

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

Dick Clark

So last night the wife and I spent New Years Eve with a bunch of friends. Great times, amazing food, tons of Coke Zero (hey, I’m soft). We paid no attention to the TV until 11:55, when everyone gathered around to catch the annual ball drop.

There was Dick Clark. Slurring. Again.

Some people started making fun. And giggling. Others just watched in stunned disbelief. One or two expressed a good-for-him outlook.

Me? I’m not so sure. Initially, I felt bad for the man. You’re Dick Clark. You’re 81. You’ve had an insanely succesful career; an iconic career. You’re one of the most famous people in the world, and you’ve got all the money you could possibly need. Why, oh, why, would you tarnish your legacy by, post-stroke, slurring and mumbling your way through a show that makes you look old, feeble and sad? (The awkward manhug with Ryan Seacrest was downright painful). I mean, what’s the point? Why not just kick back on your yacht and live large?

This morning, I woke up feeling differently.You’re Dick Clark. You’re 81. You’ve had an insanely succesful career; an iconic career. You’re one of the most famous people in the world, and you’ve got all the money you could possibly need. You know what—fuck the stroke. Fuck those who laugh and giggle. Just because a man is impaired doesn’t mean he should stop living; stop doing; stop being. I don’t know Clark’s motivation, but perhaps he continues to appear on New Years because, frankly, he wants to. Not to prove a point or stand up for stroke victims—but to live. To exist.

If so, I say bravo.

Bravo.