Today, I’d like to tell you about the most important person in the world to me. Her name is Marieta. We were married 23 years ago on this day.
I wonder. How did the time pass so quickly? Where did the years go?
I remember the first time Marieta came to my eyes, that unexpected instant of perfect clarity, that fleeting moment of pure bliss. She was too beautiful, I thought. I had no shot. I didn’t stand a chance.
But the stars do align sometimes. Lightning strikes.
That first date was awkward. The first kiss even more awkward. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing, not even for an instant. Instead, I’d joyously re-live it over and over, again and again, if only I could. If only I had the power.
These past 23 years haven’t been merely extraordinary. They’ve been unimaginable. Were they always easy? No. Were there challenges? Yes. Finding buried treasure usually requires some serious digging, some personal sacrifice. But in the end, it’s worth it.
Remember the places we went? Remember the things we saw and the people we met over the years? Some remain, and some are gone now. Remember the sights, the sounds, the tastes, the smells, and the soft embrace of our hands joined together so many times as we soaked in the rest of the world?
Those memories remain alive.
Not because of me, but because of you.
Another senseless death. Another wasted talent.
What’s the appropriate reaction when something like this happens?
Shock? Certainly. Sadness? Absolutely. Outrage? Yeah, probably. Confusion? Yes.
In the coming days, we’ll see the predictable outpouring of sympathy from all those who knew actor Philip Seymour Hoffman best. They’ll say nice things. They’ll say the right things. But they won’t say what really needs to be said. And heard by so many.
And that’s as follows: Philip Seymour Hoffman ended his life as a loser. Not as an Oscar winning actor. Not at the pinnacle of his professional career performing onstage. Not spending a moment of tenderness with his parents, or playing with any of this three children.
He ended his life laying half-naked on the bathroom floor with a needle stuck in his arm and several doses of heroin within reach.
That’s a hell of a way to go out, and sadly, an even worse way to be remembered.
Sylvia Brown is dead.
This self-described “psychic” who conned millions of people around the world for four decades, this revolting fraud who took advantage of the weakest and most emotionally vulnerable people in our society — solely for her own personal fame and profit — passed away on Wednesday night. Unfortunately for the good citizens of planet earth, her death came 77 years too late.
Yes, she was 77.
This horrible woman lied to millions. Her life was one big con game. She misled the lonely loved ones of relatives who passed away, those who desperately sought connections, answers, and some measure of closure. She pretended to talk to the dead, when in reality she was actually acting out a charade, hoping to convince those who suffered painful losses in their lives to keep on buying her books, attending her sham seminars, and paying for her private “readings,” which cost $500 an hour.
She once told a desperate family (on national television) with a missing child that their beloved one was dead. She stated that the police should stop looking. Fortunately, law enforcement ignored this lunatic. The missing child was later found very much alive (kidnapped) and was eventually reunited with the grieving family. Oh, and she never had the decency to apologize. This true story is but small sample of the misery this wretched creature caused.
This woman deserves no compassion, nor sympathy. None whatsoever. She was a despicable leech who preyed on the weak for the entire duration of her life. Not surprisingly, she often used religion and faith as part of her act.
Imagine a movie nearly 50 years in the making.
Next, imagine an unscripted story where no one knows what’s going to happen, or what the actors are going to do or say.
In 1964, Michael Apted (The World is Not Enough, The Chronicles of Narnia), then an aspiring British filmmaker in his early 20s, went out and interviewed several children. These children shared a common characteristic. Each child was 7-years-old.
The children were selected at random and were asked some basic questions. They were scattered throughout various regions of England. Rich and poor, black and white — they represented different races, religions, and social classes. They possessed entirely different attitudes. Each was questioned about their lives, their dreams, and their expectations for what the future might bring. Typical of most children, their answers were completely candid, unfiltered by self-serving biases and well-guarded hesitation that gradually comes with maturity. The kids told it like it was.
Little did anyone connected to the film know it at the time, but these deeply personal in-depth interviews comprised of children revealing themselves in front of the camera (there were 14 children in all) marked the beginning of a lifelong odyssey which has since become an extraordinary documentary series now 49 years in the making.
Today, let’s talk about death.
Not that I’m an expert on death. That’s something I hope never to master.
But having witnessed death up close and then having experienced the aftermath — a deeply personal process which continues amidst chaos and confusion — I must admit it’s not at all what I expected.
Fact is, I’m not sure I knew what to expect.
Like I said, death is confusing.