March 29, 2017 (Wednesday)

by Yule Heibel on March 28, 2018

Mid-“week,” for those who are nine-to-fivers on a Monday to Friday schedule. Their numbers are …numbered? Either their jobs already have or will morph into the precariat economy – not all, obviously, but a growing minority of them – or, if they are employed in such a traditional way (employed, mind, not the small business owner who’s always “on,” even if her business has closed for the day, or the competitive mover-shaker who works non-stop), they will eventually retire from that workaday life and face inevitable death. Yes, even you, Ray Kurzweil, will die.

Well then, here we are on the morbid theme again. This morning I felt some funny pains in my breasts, which I’m sure are prompted more by seeing Angelina Jolie’s face pop up repeatedly during a Google image search I did last night before bed, a search which had nothing to do with her, …yet there she was. Since I’m celebrity-illiterate, I couldn’t be sure whether it was her or some similar Venus who’d had a preventative double mastectomy followed by very expensive and undoubtedly very good reconstructive cosmetic surgery to make everything look like nothing ever happened. I think it was her. I felt guilty about having skipped out on getting a mammogram last spring, and now I don’t have insurance for that sort of thing, so I’m not going at all. Hence the imaginary pains on waking.

Meanwhile, a short news clip floated by me this morning: a young man, only 28 years old, was thrown from his car and killed last night in a three-car collision on E.-St. here in B. I suspect it happened further up the route, away from downtown, because I didn’t hear any emergency vehicles. The man who was killed, the same age as A.’s friend D., can’t have been wearing a seat belt if he was thrown from his car. When one has children, and one reads about someone of a similar age dying, one feels a slight surge of anxiety that it could be someone one (you! …me) knows. The poor sod thrown from his life last night wasn’t famous, was unknown except to the small circle of friends and family who knew him. He wasn’t Angelina Jolie or some other facially instantly recognizable celebrity. But at the moment – or rather, at the announcement – of unexpected death, the unknown person becomes, just for a time (or forever, depending on how well you knew him), a much-discussed (and much-lamented) celebrity. It’s not a good way to become famous, which kind of suggests there are not only good ways to live, but good ways to die, as well.

I’m fairly confident that A.’s friend D. wouldn’t ride in or drive a car if he weren’t buckled. I’m also fairly confident that the young man who died can’t have been buckled. Ergo, D. lives, obviously. But, you have children that age, they have friends, your mind turns to thoughts of attracting unwanted celebrity. It’s not something the people left behind live with easily. B. and C.’s son A. certainly became famous for how he so spectacularly died, and like his too-soon and gross demise, that element of fame (infamy) – of extraordinariness, of cursed celebrity – lingers whenever one thinks of him, if one knew him or his family. It never goes away, really.

Angelina Jolie is there, popping up in unrelated image searches, to remind us that life is fundamentally unfair. I was Googling the name of an English guy I met in Victoria in the summer of 1971. Maybe he died, unremembered, not famous enough.

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