Skip to main content

No, No, No

Troubled singer Amy Winehouse died yesterday. The cause of death is being described as "unexplained," but her history of drug and alcohol problems (which were bad enough to cause her to develop emphysema)  have caused many to snicker as they play a guessing game about how she died. I will admit to even belting-out a few bars to her song Rehab yesterday after hearing of her death. But that sort of mocking has subsided to an overall sadness.

While it's easy to point, laugh and titter at someone in the public eye (especially an entertainer) whose life is crashing & burning around them due to poor choices made, that doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do. If we were to stop and think for a moment, we all of us probably would realize that we have our own crosses to bear in some form or fashion. We all have our vices.

Take myself, for example: I eat too many 'bad' foods, and I don't exercise. If I were to die of a heart attack in the next 5 or 10 years, would my family appreciate folks shaking their heads and saying, "He had it coming?" What about those who smoke and then later develop cancer? I know that it's common to point to their tobacco habit and say that it doomed them, but are our lives so pure that we can point and judge without compunction?

Drugs can mess-up and kill a person quickly. Alcohol is no slouch, either. It's easy to single-out the folks who suffer from these addictions and connect the dots when bad things happen. It's even easier to engage in one of the poorest of human traits: smugness. I know, because I'm guilty of doing it. Surely, part of being human is to be imperfect? But then another part of being human is striving to better ourselves. And while embarking on things like kicking addictions and eating right and exercising, shouldn't we also look to improve our empathy?

Amy Winehouse was fucked-up, no doubt about it. I didn't really care for her music, nor much of what I knew of her. But she was a human being in a lot of pain, mentally and physically. People tried to help her, to no avail. She no doubt wanted to help herself, but drug & alcohol addiction make that something easier said than done. She was a talented individual who brought pleasure to a lot of people, and now her life has been tragically cut short. But really, she wasn't that much different from you or I. Just look in the mirror sometime.


Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

Third Death

My father has had three funerals. The third (though perhaps not final) one, was last night.
In reality, Lewis died in 1997. Cancer. Aged 52. He had a real funeral. I was there. The next two funerals occurred only in my dreams, yet they seemed real at the time, and their impact during the waking hours was keenly felt.
You see, during the intervening nineteen years, Lewis has come back to life in my dreams, many times. It is more than simply having a dream about him. During these nighttime images, it is noted that Lewis shouldn't be there, that he died of cancer and is resting six feet under. How, then, could he be alive and, seemingly, healthy?

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.
Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.