Could this BE any more sad?
When I saw the headline about Matthew Perry being found dead in his Hollywood home, I felt a wave of grief that had been cresting for the past few weeks. The anniversary of my mother's passing tacked onto those of our beloved dog and my college roommate all lingering in the autumn air like the smell of leaves burning.
And just to make things even more gloomy, my wife's uncle chose last week to cash his own ticket with the Hemlock Society. Put my principal's uncle on this list and suddenly there isn't much room to move without knocking over a flower arrangement or an altar of some sort.
Day of the Dead? I'll need a month for this, thank you.
I am terrifically aware of my tendency to bundle catastrophes together. I understand that if I chose any particular corner of the calendar to stare at I would find an abyss into which I could stare. Furthermore, this time of year is well-suited for staring longingly off into the distance as the greens give way to browns and gray.
Matthew Perry was found dead in a hot tub. It's sad in part because it is so cliché. Young star burns through his youthful fame in a haze of addiction only to discover the wonder of second chances. And then passes out in a jacuzzi.
It's a struggle to find that unique balance between a life well-lived and a light that went out far too soon. As I meander into my sixties, the relative age of tragedy has risen. If you die before you're as old as I am, that's a tragedy. Matthew Perry was fifty-four. He leaves behind a ten year run on a sitcom that will live beyond him in reruns, and so in this way he left his footprints on the Terra.
And he'll be another reminder for me why this time of year is exactly what this time of year is.