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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Finishing the Year Off with One-Liners

Let's just admit that a lot of people near-and-dear died this year. Icons die, and that's a large part of how they get to be icons--if, say, Jim Morrison had lived to a ripe old age, he would've been doing Cialis commercials. Except some who died this year icon'd before they DOA'd, like Prince.

Let's also admit that the death of celebrities is, at times, just as painful as the death of people personally known. Yes, I know, I know: celebrities are not always important, in that they are abstractions. Celebrity is a shallow pool in which we all drown.

Celebrities I have mourned over the years: Robin Williams. Kurt Vonnegut. Michael Jackson.

That's about it.

Oh, I think I might've gotten a bit teary-eyed when Judy Garland died. I wasn't alive when she died--I just saw a documentary about her last days and was sad.

Elvis. I was alive, barely, when he died. It was a comfort throughout my youth to know he wasn't actually dead--he was living on an island with a brain-dead JFK and Marilyn Monroe.

Anyway, celebrity deaths affect us. We don't like to admit it but it is true. I have no shame in being affected by the death of anyone.

So in a year that made Aleppo a question--"What is Aleppo?"--I am not afraid to say the death of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds has upset me. More than Prince. More than Bowie. More than George Michael.

George Michael, a man who gave birth (figuratively) to one of the best jokes on Arrested Development. In season four, much-maligned but unfairly, George Michael Bluth declares he no longer wants a name associated with a sex crime and says he is now George Maharis.

Google 'George Maharis.'

I'll wait.

Done? See! Brilliant joke.

Back to celebrity deaths.

Where was I? Oh! Carrie Fisher.

Carrie Fisher was someone I didn't know but, more importantly: Carrie Fisher was someone who didn't know me. We met once, of course, but it was of no consequence to her--she was performing, and Greg and I just happened to be in her presence--but it isn't like we sat down for brunch and had a conversation. Or we did, but both G and I were polite and smart enough to just listen.

We were Freudian shrinks, and Carrie was our patient.

(Except of course the more she talked and the more we listened, the more we learned about ourselves.)

Greg, my husband of four years and my life-partner of nearly 15, has a mental illness. He is, like Carrie was, bi-polar; he prefers 'bi-polar' but Carrie preferred to be called 'manic-depressive.' It's the same thing. Carrie insisted bi-polar sounded like a gay bear in the Arctic. Greg says manic-depressive sounds like going home for the holidays. I'm not bi-polar or manic-depressive, so I let those with it self-identify.

I know it is bipolar and not bi-polar. Officially there is no hyphen. But there should be. The splitting of the word is integral to the comprehension of the... I don't even want to say 'the disease.' Or the sickness. So I'll just say 'the state of mind.'

Carrie helped me understand my husband, is what I mean. First, she helped me understand myself--I always thought Leia was the best character in Star Wars, and grew up pretending to be her rather than Luke or Han--and then, when I adulted, she helped me understand Greg.

Prince, Bowie, George Michael. There are many things I could say about each of them, and about many others who died this year, celebrity or civilian. But it is Carrie Fisher who matters most to me.

This year has been a dismal year. And since I promised a one-liner, here it is:

I imagine when President-Elect Donald Trump is fisting someone, that someone invariably calls out, "IS IT IN YET?"

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