You see it hundreds of times a day even if you only watch a scant amount of TV. It signals a transition from the guts of the program to the dreaded commercial. The screen goes black if only for a nanosecond. When you use a VCR and fast forward the ads it is your cue to hit PLAY again. Or if you are an old fart like me you watch it fly by and have to hit rewind. Such is life.
I got to thinking about our world and all that is happening and has happened over the last few years. As a culture we have the unique ability to fade to black on a lot of things. Remember the Arab Spring? A distant thought. Columbine? Sandy Hook? Aurora? We moved right on. How about Boko Haram? When was the last time 200 kidnapped school girls came to mind? There have been two crashes of Manila Airlines jet with over 500 people gone. We have dismissed the picture of rotting bodies in the fields of some God forsaken place called Ukraine. We have more important things to do.
And now we have a thing called Ferguson. There is anger, bitterness and a strife we can only imagine. We will watch the scene play out on TV for the next few days and then move to the next because after all a story has to have legs. I don’t say this with disdain or guilt. How we handle these things in a study in human nature and our own psyches.
You can take any life changing episode. Do I dwell on it or do I just move on? Now I can say I must get on with my life. There is nothing I can do about it. It’s history. I’ll hang on long enough to get the gist. Pay your respects and go out to dinner afterwards. I can’t figure out if I am resilient or just terribly uncaring?
There is one story I wish we would not fade to black on and that is the death of Robin Williams. I remember him as Adrian Kronauer in Good Morning Viet Nam. He was both whacky and poignant. His rendition of a traffic jam over the Ho Chi Minh Trail was a classic. He knew how to poke fun at the brass. He was irreverent. He was nuts. Wonder why in some strange way I feel a kindred spirit?
More importantly he put a very recognizable face on a thing called depression. Some have said he took the easy way out. If you know anything about suicide you know differently. He fought his addictions and his demons constantly. Not for weeks or months but for decades. All the while putting on a happy face. Just remember suicide is a not a quick exit. It is the acquiescence of some poor devil who has said I just can’t fight it any more.
You know I don’t like Hollywood types with all their self absorption. This guy was different. He was an everyman. If you ran into him on the street he would talk. If you needed help in anything he was there. People just reveled in his madness and to that point he was scary. Part of us wanted to be just like him. To be zany and outrageous and sat f__k it all. He played by a different set of rules and we all wish we could find the book.
It did make me think about the lifestyle. Kathy and I went to a concert with Santana and Rod Stewart. Usually when you go to a revival of sorts they are a letdown but this one was great. I watched Santana who has been doing doing this for a long time. How many stages and towns has he been to? How many times did he have to get up for a performance only to have to come down to get some sleep? His choice. His problem. He has made a lot of money doing it. But then again at what price? It’s a crazy world.
We live in a “what have you done for me lately” world. Fame and fortune are short and bittersweet. We fade to black a lot. We get caught in this vortex of life and just don’t know how to hit pause and smell the roses. We really don’t understand what life is like on the other side of the fence. We are somewhat of a hit and run society. We have to have bigger, better, faster without looking at the collateral damage. I guess that is progress but will we ever be happy?
Black is a color of many hues. I don’t particularly care for it but my daughter loves it. Ansel Adams found it very rewarding. So did Johnnie Cash and Gary Player. It is what you make it. Black can signal finality or even silence. If I fade to something I hope it is a bright green or red or at worst grey. Find your own remote control and set it any way you like. So much for this and now back to our story…life as we know it. and it is damn good.
Ted The Great
Sherwin Williams lists 137 shades of black. The Stones of course said “Paint It Black”.
One of black’s definitions list as “very dark, an absence of light.” Hmmm. Black humor is grim or distorted. Sinister and evil come right in there.
During Apartheid in South Africa you were subjected to a pencil test. If you hair was so frizzy that you could stick a pencil in it then you were black.
In 2011 there were 39,518 suicides and untold number of attempts. one ever 13 minutes. Men are more successful than women. The highest age brackets are 45-64 (18.6%) and 85+ (16.9) I am only 69.
By my calculation Santana has performed in concert at least 5,000 times.