Remoy Philip

writer. creator. producer.

Where were you when...

...Heath Ledger died.

I sat flat footed on the edge of my mauve colored scum ridden tub fighting the attack of mildew upon the once iridescent white tiles that surrounded my shower. The air of cable mediocrity surrounded me, however I fought with a modern enlightenment as I streamed The Decemberists from my Ipod to disperse any thoughts or shall I say fear of becoming one of the previous generation. As this threshold of mildew fighting domestication was setting in and as the bleach and Ammonia-free compound(I hope ammonia-free, for sulfuric acid would create one hell of counter-story to Mr. Ledger's death)worked their magic in defuncting the life of the mildew that had set in, one thought crossed my mind, "This grout is fucked."

A couple hours later, as I sat in triumph filling my under satisfied stomach and affixing my glory in my victory over mildew and grime, my roommate meandered into the kitchen and brought me the news: "Heath Ledger just died." In that moment, a sudden melancholy drifted from nowhere seen, and covered me placidly. I really could not and still cannot tell of all the roles that I have seen Mr. Ledger play. Moreover, I can't speak of any characters that this young man has played which has made me rethink the characterizations of breathing life anew. However, in that moment of circumspect knowledge, I was totally overcome. Death had taken a lethargic grip on my legs, and the weight of my shoes was burdensome with the dredging of fear. I needed to throw up.

At first, I fought off this thought process. Next, I stumbled down the supposed road of the less traveled, and wanted to argue what a moronic selfish role Mr. Ledger has just played. I was stalwart in anger and created tirades in my mind at which I would open fire upon the next young person who came at me with this "tragic" news of another star's downfall. But after that feeling of "holiness" dispelled me, I then parlayed my fear and defunction to shear proximity. Come on, I and my small social circle live in the city that Mr. Ledger's body was found in. The apartment where the paparazi fought for hours trying to get the corpse shot, was not more than a seven minute walk from where I work, and where the likes of Ledger and those of his sort come to shop and not be bothered. Surely it was the factor of proximity that was making me downright morose.

However, later that day, as I got off the train to meet a friend, I had received three new messages inquiring of me if I had heard the news. I was dumbfounded, because these messages were from persons not found in this city, but friends from all over the country; all persons of my age who were shocked by the news. And as the night progressed and I found myself in different locales all throughout the city, a steady stream, or shall I say, a quiet and cumbersome hum filled the air from people who were shocked and misled by this tragedy.

By the end of the evening, I still sat wondering what was so tragic about this event. I know death is awakening and fear inducing, but yet it happens every day. Also, when something happens to a person that most would describe as a "star," everyone begins to talk and discuss retrospectively about the befores and afters and guesses at what was and what will become; but yet there was something different about this young star's death. A striking young lady I know compared Ledger to the tragic all too-short life of James Dean. And at first, I had my fists up ready to box away in a controlled argumentitive stance how in no way is Ledger and James Dean the same being; nor is their deaths any way similar.

But after postulating over this for more than just a second, and after I allowed my thoughts to till through the small amount of speculative information I had, I drifted to the comparison and labeled it as somewhat true. Heath Ledger is from our generation. He can't be too much older than me, and for that his death becomes so much more real. I know a drug induced overdose is nothing to be glorified nor exhalted, and that by no means is where I am going, but in his death there is a definite tragedy. On the verge of a career that would seem to be going somewhere, in a man who was steadily out of the spotlight, but yet known for who he was becoming, was who I saw Heath Ledger as. And then without no report or any tell of mishap, a sudden tragic death becomes us all.

Our generation is gaining knowledge with our floodlights on and the rains pouring in. We are learning more of our universe, world, society, and even our own bodies more and more everyday; now couple that with the fact that our world is growing in population and in unison more each day and with this great influx of everything that seems good, we as a people group, we as the next generation, we as the now, are losing hope. Whatever Secular Humanism is and whatever academia has done, we are losing hope. To us, to the peoples that will soon rule the world, Heath Ledger's death is a symbol of what that loss of hope looks like. He is our symbol of the destitution of hope. When everything is ready to be gained, and the world seems more and more for our vulgar hands to take a hold of, the value is lost and so is the hope. Then as we fight against the almost-too-humane instinct of "I want" we are still left downtrodden without hope. No great wars to report of. Climate struggles and oil crisis's are our worry. We know more of where we came from, and yet we don't have any clue of where we are going.

We are left aghast at this tragedy of a young star who lost so much when there seemed even more so to gain. The voice of our generation cries in anguish because we know of the peril this death bargains for. Where we do make our next step? How do we step plaintively forward without stripping ourselves of any more goodness that can and will be our saving lifeline?

Where were you when...

Be Relentless,