You’re Soaking In It

“The only reason you are alive
Is that someone has decided to let you live.”

Whenever death hits the American public, the American public responds as the American public expects itself to respond. The American public was shocked and horrified by September 11. The American public was stunned by the loss of Princess Diana. Though I didn’t witness them, the American public was probably shocked and stunned by the deaths of Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy, and Elvis. Today, the death of Michael Jackson has taken over, making the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon sad footnotes. It’s a bit like Heathers. In life, MJ was Crazy Uncle Jacko who sat in the corner at family reunions and mumbled about Vietnam. In death, he is 20-something and moonwalking at the celebration for the 25th anniversary of Motown. We’ll be stunned for a minute, buy a commemorative copy of the New York Times, and then go back to thinking about what we’re doing this weekend.

I don’t know why the American public is so easy to stun and shock.

Terrorists had been trying to bomb the World Trade Center for years. Princess Diana was hounded constantly. MLK and JFK had no small portion of enemies, and Elvis was taking all of the pills in Memphis. The only times TMZ ever got a shot of Michael Jackson were when he was scuttling out of a doctor’s office. Nothing screams “death’s door” quite like having medical dust masks to match every outfit.

Humans are so easy to kill; all you have to do is cut off the air, get the heart to stop, or damage the brain badly enough to do one of the two. Anurisms, stray bullets, car wrecks, heart attacks and blood clots are everywhere. If you eat three times a day, you have roughly 600-800 opportunities to choke each day.

Today, toddlers all over the world are going to notice their parents’ behavior and want to know why people have to die. People die because we’d have a hell of a population problem if they didn’t. People die so that those who are left alive won’t squander their time. Somewhere, Little Timmy is realizing that he can be snuffed out at every turn. Somewhere Timmy knows death is always two steps behind him. Somewhere, Little Timmy is deciding to stop wasting time.

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