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When Celebrities Die

I’m not just a fan of Japanese media. Of late, I’ve also become a fan of British panel shows, such as “Would I Lie to You”, “Taskmaster”, “8 out of Ten Cats”, “QI”, and pretty much everything else where Jimmy Carr’s distinctive laugh has been present in one for or another. I’m not really a huge fan of too much else British, but they seem to have the panel show format down. In fact, that’s where “Whose Line is it Anyway” originally came from, which may be one of the funniest shows to ever be on the telly. EVER.

One of the participants of these shows was a comedian named Sean Lock. A middle aged, balding guy who looked like your next door neighbor named Bob who’d borrow your lawnmower, but was actually one of the funniest comedians out there, because you could rely on him to say something utterly absurd at a moment’s notice. By all accounts, he wasn’t a very great person, but that doesn’t matter after one dies. Death is the great equalizer, and once someone dies, about all you can do is do your best to unwind their affairs, clean up after whatever messes they left, and move on. Their impact on the world is over, for good or for bad.

I don’t really find Mr. Lock’s death individually tragic. By which I mean, I personally knew him only by his contributions to comedy, thought he was rather funny, and will miss his contributions to that world. But personally, I didn’t know him. I won’t pretend to have known him. I won’t pretend to be sad or full of sorrow, because I’m not. A man died of cancer. That sucks, but in the same way any man or woman dying of cancer would suck. Obviously you don’t celebrate it, but you just kinda move on with life.

But, as with any well-publicized death, it does make one think.

I make no secret, to those who know me and those who don’t, that I think life is a terrible proposition. You’re born into this world knowing instinctively that you’re going to die, but you don’t know when. It could be before you’re born through the actions of an irresponsible parent, or it could be one hundred years after you’re born after you’ve had a good run, or it could be at any time in between through any manner of unfortunate circumstances. It is the one, and only one, absolute certainty of life – that you’re going to die someday. And I think many peoples’ negative reactions to hearing about a celebrity death is that it reminds them that they’re not mortal. Even the most successful, rich, talented, whatever person is going to bite it someday.

I think life is a terrible proposition because I hate death. It’s an ugly stain that’s built into the very substrate in the world, and it lies in wait for you, just biding its time, until someday, when you least expect it, it’ll jump out at you and you’ll be no more. And we fear that! We fear that because our bodies are programmed, somehow, with a powerful survival drive. We don’t want to die! And yet, that’s the one thing we’re absolutely guaranteed.

The reason I think life is a terrible proposition is that we’re programmed to fear and hate that which is inevitable. That’s the unfair part, really. It’s as if we were born to be tormented.

Sean Lock died, and many of us know about it and are talking about it. Right now, many Afghanis are dying at the hands of the Taliban, and not as many are talking about that. People are dying all of the place, of COVID, of many other things, and there are just so many they don’t even register. And then, on the other hand, people are being born, maybe more that are dying, but they’ll expire too as their usefulness dries up. Such is the way of life.

Sean Lock’s death is a tragedy, but no more than anyone else’s death is a tragedy, and not one of us can be blamed for the fact that death exists. This is, more than anything else, why I consider every day giving up on being a Christian. You can’t tell me that Jesus conquered death when people die every day. It’s a useless statement, a useless promise, and generally a lie. And I’m not sure I want to be a part of a religion where people lie to me.

I’m sorry, this one wasn’t fun. Here, have a butterfly.

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