The passing of Michael Jackson is certain to give some of us reason to pause and evaluate our own lives. After all, if a superstar such as Michael can die at 50…
OK, reality check. The sad fact of life is that we are all going to die at some point . It’s been noted that we begin dying the moment we’re born. Hardly true if you consider those who die before they can be born. And no, that’s not necessarily a reference to abortion alone—still births and miscarriages are part of what I’m referring to as well.
As my wife and I were headed to the store a few nights ago, we talked about Michael and Farrah. We’re both at the right age to have grown up with both of these figures playing into our lives. My thoughts went from reation to philosophical and then spiritual.
The initial reaction was a little bit of shock over the news. I also had a sense of tragic and potentially senseless loss. It reminds me of how I felt at the news of David Carradine’s death or even longer ago at the news of the deaths of Karen Carpenter and Freddie Mercury. Tragic, all-too-soon, and sometimes senseless and ultimately, unnecessary.
Philosophically, part of me agrees. It’s not the part that says “we will all die one day” although that part of me has the majority vote in this issue. Tragic in a sense but as time passes, no-one will really care. For example, as the years passed, the tragedy of Lincoln’s assassination had less and less impact. Had he not been shot and killed at that time, surely he would be long gone by now and his death would just be another part of the casual history of life and death among humans. Philosophically, the tragedy is often based on the age at which a person dies or refers to the circumstances around that death. But the certainty of that person’s death at some point by whatever means is something we cannot escape.
Perhaps we like to think of celebrities as being somehow superior—immortal. But they are born in the same manner as all humans and they will live and die as surely as the rest of us more common folk do. The circumstances of the death may be more intriguing, less intriguing, cloaked in mystery, even scandalous but it will come.
For Michael, I see a troubled young man finally able to rest.
Since beginning this post a few days ago, another few notables have died. For some reason, I am more saddened by the death of Billy Mays, also 50 years old–a traditional family man who appeared in our homes on a near-daily basis. By comparison, Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett lived in and basked in the glory of days gone by. From a contributory sense, I’m not so sure that they didn’t die several years ago. Not to take away from the tremendous talent that Michael Jackson was—indeed, even I tried to emulate him in voice when I was 10 or 11 years old—but I do have to ask, in the words of his sister, “what have you done for me lately?”