…and I mean one of those weekends, really.
I was on my way home from work yesterday when I read the news that Glenne Headly had died.
Say what now?
She couldn’t have been that old.
“62?!?”, I think.
Then – I kid you not – my next thought is, “Lucky.”
I’ll tell ya what the hell, I’m staring down 50 this year and I’m conflicted about a long life versus going out possibly early with a high quality of life.
I think I’ve got 50 in my cross hairs like this:
But, I think sometimes it’s more realistically this:
What’s a gay to do? This is not the culture for Oldie Hawns, and – let’s face it – America ain’t getting greater these days. That doesn’t just impact my patriotic identity…in this case, it’s a factual planet killer. By extension, a long-lived Xtopher can potentially look forward to some Thunderdome bullshit in his longevity.
Then I think of my parents.
They’ve both crested their eighth decade on this dying rock, call it their early 70s. They remarried after 20-some years of divorce. While that’s a story that I’m sure they would say is none of my business to tell, I’m not thinking of that particular life event or even that time in their lives in this particular moment. What comes to mind isn’t their first marriage or even their second.
It’s the time betwixt.
When my parents originally split up, we were assembled in California. My father having pre-located there for a job, my mother and the kids joining after the school year ended for her two youngest. I joined in the move. For reasons I won’t bore you with here.
Other than: California.
Being California, and divorce being trendy…Bob’s your uncle – or at least your divorce lawyer – I guess, they split up a year-ish after the SoCal reunion.
Mom took off back to the fairer pastures of Oregon with…oh, every one of her chirrun but me, also because: California.
What’s an early 20s newly minted gay to do?
It was a decision that was quite beyond my control.
Ironically, I ended up living only blocks from my dad in SoCal, so I had a good seat as to how he stared down his own demons in his 40s.
I’ll be damned if it wasn’t quietly, as is his style. While simultaneously doing what needed to be done.
He sure as fuck didn’t start a poorly-trafficked blog. You know, sharing this on your social media pages would hardly kill you people. I’m just gonna leave that hanging.
I had a chance to change my geographic scenery a few times in my early and mid-20s, be it for the wrong reasons – like a boy – or for slightly less easily judged reasons – like work – and ended up back in Oregon.
The prodigal gay.
That gave me the opportunity to witness how my mother stared down her own adversaries in her 40s.
Well, she’s my Ellen Ripley. That same quiet acceptance of what must be done that my father demonstrated, but with the additional obstacle of responsibilities like – oh, no big deal – being a single mother.
I don’t know when this turned into some sort of vague-albeit-late Mother’s Day card or a slightly early Father’s Day post…but, well, sometimes my digressions can give you a little insight into the people – the real people – that shaped who I am.
Don’t make it weird, people.
Anyway, my psyche checks me when that unbidden “Lucky” pops into my head over Glenne Headly’s death with a “What the fuck, you little wuss…buck up. Your shit is nothing like your parents’!”
And, so I buck uply and put dear Glenne out of my head-ly.
Sorry about that.
You know what fuckery I am met with the following day? The reward for shoring myself up as all things nearly 50 converge on my weak-assed self?
Here’s a little hint:
Not to mention a killer caricature of himself.
And still cooler than I ever will be. Just look at that bad ass.
My weak-assed little self’s least favorite counterpart – my self-bullying-snarky-assed self – was right on point to ask the big question, “Do you think your parents hear this news and think, ‘Lucky’?” because he had to live soooo long?
“No. They probably fucking don’t, because they had to work for what they have: a comfortable retirement in which to enjoy their family and each other – reconciliation after two decades of divorce is a goddamned gift, albeit an in the moment costly one – they didn’t have their shit handed to them by fame…so buck up, Buttercup.”
Sometimes I just want to punch my snarky-assed self in the balls. Other times, I’m sure most everyone else does.
Looking at you, Silver Fox.
Knowing my parents, they probably think something more along the lines of, “Poor Bastard” because, while his death will be mourned by the fans accrued over the course of decades of Batman notoriety, they measure their success not in fans or dollars, but rather in their shared pride in the family they built and will leave behind.
Whatever legacy Adam and Glenne leave behind, we – as adoring and appreciative fans – cannot measure or judge the pride they leave behind for their own families; merely in the absence of their future celluloid impact. What I’ve learned from my family…parents, grandparents, extended family and chosen family, is that that’s the yardstick.
The so called wake of your existence.
So, I’ll get up tomorrow and honor the example that real people set for me and set aside this morose nostalgia for people I’ve not met and live a life that will make my parents proud.
As quietly as grumpy, old Xtopher can, anyway.