Been to a lot of funerals in my life, like most people in their late 30s have. Sometimes the routine can all seem familiar: The families dressed in black, the rabbi or funeral home director giving a well-meaning but bland speech, and lots of happy memories recalled about the deceased through the tears.
Tuesday was different. Tuesday, I went to a funeral for a person younger than me for the first time.
He was 34 years old, stricken with cancer when he was in his 20s, cancer that came back with a vengeance about six months ago. I don’t want to name him or give too many details about his life, out of respect, but suffice to say that though I didn’t know him well, what I did know is he was a terrific man, a loving husband, and a doting father on his toddler son.
Funerals don’t usually get to me this much, but when someone younger than you has died, it feels different. You look in the mirror and look older; feel older. You start to think about turning 40, and turning 50, and what have I accomplished in my life, and how could we all be here at a funeral for a person who wasn’t even old enough to be elected President yet?
I hardly ever think about death; I’m the most optimistic person I know, and maybe once a year I think about mortality and what lies afterward.
But as a multitude of eulogists made their way to the microphone to talk about the deceased, it seemed like everyone in the audience had much the same thought: What are we doing here celebrating the life of someone still in their prime, with their best years ahead of them?
I think I do a pretty good job of counting my blessings and appreciating all that I have. But now that I’m old enough to have the kind of funeral experience I had Tuesday, I’m going to try awfully hard to never lose sight of how fast it could be taken away.
Thirty-four years old. Damn.
**OK, time for some less weighty stuff. I really ought to be watching the great sketch comedy show “Key & Peele” on a regular basis, since I always seem to see clips on the Internet and find them hilarious.
Like this one; as part of a parody of a popular YouTube series called “Epic Rap Battles of History,” the two comedians pitted Michael Jordan vs. Muhammad Ali. Yeah, you might be a tiny bit offended at some of the rap, but I watched it three times and laughed harder each time.
**Finally, check this out (hat tip to my fellow teacher and friend Jon S. for pointing me to this).
The role of Wonder Woman has just been cast in the latest superheroes movie to come out of Hollywood, “Batman vs. Superman.” Her name is Gal Godot, she’s an Israeli actress, and also looks like a good stiff breeze would knock her over.
And this story made me mad, because once again, Hollywood is screwing up my childhood memories by continuing to screw up Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter, the subject of my first-ever life crush, was perfect as Diana Prince’s alter ego: Beautiful, strong-looking, with a great personality and a woman who, quite frankly, could kick your butt.
Which is exactly how the cartoon Wonder Woman was. And yet, since the gorgeous Ms. Carter left the role in the early ’80s, Hollywood has continually screwed up WW’s legacy.
Like at least 10 movies about WW were started then stopped. Then a few years ago there was going to be an NBC show about her, starring Adrienne Palicki, who was great on “Friday Night Lights” and might’ve made a good Wonder Woman, but the show never aired before getting cancelled.
Now Hollywood’s trying again. Here’s my free advice: STOP! The role was perfected by Lynda Carter. If you’re not going to get someone strong and buff to play her, like a Jennifer Lawrence or a Gina Carano, then just quit.
Because you’re ruining Wonder Woman with casting like this, you’re just ruining her.
Seven-year-old me is not happy.