Somebody said the other day that the meaning of life was to be with family and friends — oh, wait, it was Bill Medley who brought that up on stage at the Crest Theatre Friday night. The sentiment seemed odd to me, almost self-centered in a way, although everybody in the audience applauded. But then Bill Medley was born 12 years before me, lost his singing partner Bobby Hatfield to a cocaine overdose right before the Righteous Brothers were due to go onstage, and has had an array of experiences completely foreign to my own, so who’s to say; it’s just a different point of view.
I think the meaning of life is to try to leave the world in a little bit better place than when you arrived.
Then, not entirely surprising, my husband and I were at the Crest Theatre this Sunday to watch the premier of Life Itself, a documentary about Roger Ebert, the famous film critic who died last year after a long battle with cancer. People always say that those who survived cancer or didn’t immediately die from it are courageous or brave, is there really valor in choosing life over death? In Ebert’s case, I’m also not sure valiance is a necessary ingredient for pugnaciousness. When his time came to go, he slipped away willingly. It was a beautifully intimate portrait of his life, tears and all.
Both Roger Ebert and Bill Medley were born about the same time, give or take a couple of years. Roger, I should note, also lost his TV partner, Gene Siskel to a brain tumor. Both of these guys lost half of their act and weathered the agony and loss. They both also were no strangers to how laughter can help to pave the way when the road gets rough. My husband was poking fun at Bill Medley as I got ready to go to the show with my girlfriend. He kept singing: I lost my god damn car keys. Medley himself played off perceptions of old age by pretending to pull out his back when going down on his knees. Just wait until my husband gets old. He thinks he’s old now but he’s not.
I have this image of myself as an old lady. And let me insert here that my definition of being an “old lady” changes every year. When was in my teens and hitchhiking across the country, I thought 30 was old. When I turned 45, I thought 60 was old. Now that I qualify for a senior discount at the Crest Theatre, I think 75 is old, maybe 80. But when I’m old lady, I see myself sitting on the front porch of my home in a rocking chair, rocking a rifle in my lap, ready to take aim at the intruders who try to stick me into an “Old Folk’s Home.” Bear in mind I would have to learn how shoot a gun and purchase said firearm, if I intended to really shoot somebody, so it will more likely be a toy rifle I found online at Target, like a rifle Matt Dillon would keep on hand for official marshall duty, but ssshh don’t tell the cops.
Or maybe it would be over eminent domain. They might want to bulldoze my house to put up a casino. I’d sic our cats on ’em, point that rifle and scream: get offa my land. Hey, hey, You, You. No seriously, I will be a force of nature. I hope my husband is around to enjoy it.