Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I was driving back from lunch when I heard the news about Heath Ledger on the radio. My reaction was visible, and the man in the truck beside me looked at me curiously. I think it was because the way the newswoman delivered the news, "Heath Ledger found DEAD in his apartment." Yeah, I thought it was blunt, too.

This one got to me. I don't know Heath Ledger and never met him, but he was a talented actor who moved me with his performance in Brokeback Mountain and so "got" the part he was portraying. So much, that I wrote about a personal memory it evoked in my blog. I was looking forward to seeing him as The Joker in The Dark Knight. I still am, but it will be weird and sad in a way to see him in the film.

I don't think he meant to kill himself. However, when I heard the news I couldn't help but think of Rob. Apparently he was suffering from addiction, depression and couldn't sleep. I don't know anything about the former, but I do know of the last two and how desperate you can become to just feel normal. I think that's what got to me. He died alone and sad in a cold loft apartment that could not absorb his sorrows. I thought of the daughter that will now only know him in two dimensions.

I want to shake people sometimes, who so recklessly play chicken with their bodies. I'd love to think this is a wake-up call to others who taunt fate but it won't be. Everyone thinks it can't happen to them, that they won't be that black body bag being unceremoniously rolled out into the street. Though Heath Ledger wasn't one of them, the celebrities who flaunt their addictions and drug and drunken infused lifestyle will continue to do so. The followers who think that it’s cool will continue to follow and rely on fate instead of themselves to be their guardians. They'll do it because it makes them feel special, on the edge and the boss of who they are.

Meanwhile, life for the rest of us will continue. We'll wake up in the morning, get into the shower and let our minds drift during our warm baptism. We'll get dressed, unable to decide between the black pants or brown cords. We'll stand in line at the coffee shop, drug store, grocery store, make brief eye contact with strangers and share idle chatter with clerks. We'll smell the scents of the day hear the sounds of life on it's pace. We'll drive to here and there, and stop at lights, cars on either side of us housing their drivers in glass and steel cages. We'll go shopping, to doctor's appointments, fill up our cars with gas, read books, watch TV, hear heavy trucks as they pass by and ponder over what to fix for dinner. We'll dream, mean to do this and that but never get around to it because we aimlessly surfed the internet. We'll want those boots we saw on one of our Web excursions. Every now and then, we'll worry if we're really good at what we do for a living and then assure ourselves that we are and that we didn't get the job because people were being nice. We'll spend time with friends, strangers, and laugh with coworkers. We'll keep our goals in mind because that's what keeps us going.

But still, a man in the prime of his life died of sadness today. And despite all of the above that means something. It's not trifled because he was an actor. Were he someone like the talentless train wreck celebutards who feel that they are entitled to wake up in the morning, that would be different. No. He was merely someone who was quietly suffering and one day didn't wake up. And that is tragic.

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