Sunday, January 20, 2008

Deaths of The Week

A lot of people die every week but this week's seemed to have more notable people than usual. Maybe because all I watch is Sportscenter and these are mostly sports figures.

Georgia Frontiere (ESPN)

Georgia owned the LA Rams and moved them to St. Louis. She was 80.

Ernie Holmes - Pittsburgh Steelers (ESPN)

"For some reason, former Pittsburgh Steelers players keep dying at an alarming rate, one that appears to be far higher than that for other NFL teams. Former star defensive lineman Ernie Holmes' death in an auto accident Thursday night in Texas was at least the 34th death of a former Steelers player since 2000, with 16 of them age 59 or younger, as was Holmes."

Allan Melvin - Sam The Butcher from The Brady Bunch (Brooklyn Vegan)

Bobby Fischer - Chess Prodigy Turned Crazy Hitler Admirer

Brad Renfro - A Talented Yong Actor Succumbs to the Seedier Side of Life

I remember seeing his film starring debut as a 11 year old in The Client, the best of the many John Grisham books turned films. His production slowed as his struggles with the demons of life increased. He followed it up with excellent performances in Tom and Huck, Sleepers, Telling Lies in America and Apt Pupil. Then he seemed to diasppear. His most recent major role was as a thieiving hitchiker in the under appreciated, and mis promoted sci-fi thrillier The Jacket. Wikipedia Renfro's life like so:

"He acted in 24 movies and several television episodes during his career; however, much of his career was marred by a pattern of substance abuse and occasional petty crime. In 2006, he spent 10 days in jail for convictions of driving while under the influence and attempted heroin possession."

I found an interesting site if you're into death. I guess it could also be called Deaths of the Week too.

Maybe these deaths seem so apparent because someone I knew died this week. His names was The Gerge and he was about 23 years old. He was about a year younger than myself. He lived near the campus at the school I attended but he didn't matriculate through the university's halls.

His young death points out the fragility of life. But his life had some issues that probably shortened his life expectancy by decades. While he was about 6 foot 2, 2-3 inches taller than me, he probably tipped the scales at over 350 pounds the last time I saw him. He was also a fan of many of the past times that were popular with the main characters in movies like Scarface and Blow. I could count on two hands the amount of times I saw him without a emptied Dutch Master Cigar in his hands. So it was not too surprising to learn that this man, the Gerge, who had fled America due to fears of law enforcement, met his demise under unexplained circumstances somewhere in Costa Rica.

Not to say, I'm a saint. But even if someone is not a saint, when they are dead there is no possibility for any other effect in this world. His effect could be to change the habits of some around him that followed his own but it's not likely. The people that have turned the corner have already done so but others will continue on. But if only one or two people decided to shift gears, then his passing will have changed something. But the finality of it changes you. It makes you think even for a moment or a glimpse. Maybe once or maybe for the rest of your life. Every time you do something your mind processes everything it's ever thought of and takes that into account.

Subconsciously, every moment matters no matter how consequential and every dramatic change to the structure of your communal life make you rethink that community. In our last memorable conversation, an inebriated Gerge sat poolside talking about writing a memoir of his life. He said it "pefect for a show on HBO or Showtime or some shit." I know that I and many others might agree. It wouldn't be the most glamorous series. It would be gritty like Traffic, Blow, or Scarface. One thing I know is that Gerge: THe Series would be interesting and provocative. Maybe it will happen, a blended mesh of fiction and fact but it's not a story that should be spoken about so close to his death. The positives of his life should be accentuated and memorialized for some part of time.

Rest in peace Gerge. You did effect many people for good or bad. Even if I haven't thought of you for weeks or months, I am thinking of you now.

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