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Friday, June 29, 2018

The Story of 5 Deaths Expressed in Print: The Truly Well Done, the Really Good, the Bad, the Good, and the Tasteless


Last night, I found out that my cousin Michele's former husband and father of their 2 children died. The humanized story was beautifully tragic. It was everything an obituary should be. Despite their differences, she both put aside and showed her feelings toward their relationship in a way that completely respected him. I can't top that, so I'll just say RIP, Charlie A.

Originally, I set out to write this with the following 4 deaths in mind. The first of those was news columnist Charles Krauthammer. I saw this comment, and I felt inspired at his mature approach to death.


"I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life -- full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended."

I thought of how special and fearless that was. There was no zombie fear of death, just a complete sense of peace. For a man known for political commentary of conservative nature, it showed a truly realized place in the world, which is infrequent to that generation of men. Total class.



Up next is Richard "Old Man" Harrison. The tributes to him were also powerful and well-expressed, but despite dying of Parkinson's complications, I heard little else about it. Nevertheless, in death, we Parkies and those who know our plight can imagine what might have "got him." Suddenly, all of those afternoon siestas make a lot of sense. However, a learning lesson to the world was missed in not telling us all how Chumlee affected Harrison's emotional overload (in the same good-natured goofy way I do with people I enjoy working with) or how he coped with his symptoms and new life. 

I speak out to do this. That's my choice. I wish more people in power would do this to help create a greater interest in funding and research that involves more options that just legalizing cannabis.



Then we compare that solid expression to this obituary detailing the final slam from jilted kids. Yes, they had reason to be mad, but settling it like this? Printing this? C'mon.


Finally, we come to DJ Dan Ingram, who also had Parkinson's, though he "didn't die from it" (according to his son). No, the headline was:

Famed Radio DJ Dan Ingram Dead at 83 After Choking on a Piece of Steak


Let's think about this. According to Michael J. Fox Foundation and my own personal experience, swallowing is kind of a problem for Parkies. Now maybe this particular bit of food blocking his windpipe was the result of trying to swallow a three inch squared piece of steak without chewing, but I'm betting against that. Nevertheless, he's gone, and that's the important thing. However, to turn a death into a click-bait headline for cheap hits? Totally classless. What's more, in looking at the PD tie-in, to treat the death like this seems a tad insulting. 

Obviously, illness with physical symptoms often is easy to insult; just ask these NSFW rappers who penned said lyrics. I'm sure we've all played the insult illnesses game when we were younger, but to make that slight when older and in a mainstream supermarket mega seller magazine... why? 

How about, "Famous DJ Dies at 83 after a Stellar Career?"

We all have our nemesis entertainers. Mine generally reside on Bravo and E. While I have suggested to my wife that some should fight to the death in a steel cage, I can't even find it in my heart to want to crack jokes on a Real Housewife or a Kardashian, should they pass away. I've got too much karma to work on, and besides, their hateful on-camera, female equivalent of the WWE squabbling will have caused enough jokes and vitriol in life. Why carry it over to death?



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