When people die or something terrible happens, people have this tendency to put themselves into the story. It’s not bad enough that something tragic happens without a bunch of people outside the families and event saying how they feel about it, or how they are somehow involved.
My favorite game people play when someone dies is the “We-Were-Best-Friends”, “I Talked To Him/Her Last” and the “I Was Doing ____________ When I Heard He/She Died” games. No one plays the “I Knew Him/Her the Least”, “I Unfriended Him/Her Months Ago” and “I Don’t Remember What I Was Doing When I Read Your Post/Text About Said Person Dying” games.
People love trying to claim they have the most right to being in grief by stating their relationship level like a Dungeons & Dragons character and get upset if someone tries to up them. It becomes a battle of time spent, how real they were when they were with the person, and history of hangouts and close to the time of death they talked to the deceased.
I like going with the how little I know the person. I love trying to have the grieving person go on a ten to fifteen minute explanation of who the person is and how I actually know that person, but I keep denying any knowledge of the person. Maybe I’ll suddenly realize who they are talking about and say I wasn’t a huge fan and that I’ll be fine without the person’s existence.
Speaking of talking to the person closest to the time of death, that’s the other game people play: who talked to the person last? Who cares if you talked to the person one hour, eight minutes and forty-four seconds before the deceased walked in front of a cow stampede? I sure don’t.
I like not even remembering the last time I talked to the deceased. I think I may have said excuse me to the person when I came out of the mall bathroom after taking a shit, but my memory of the person is hazy.
Oh, were you coming back from taking your ferret for a walk when you heard the news? You were having trouble sleeping and actually were thinking about the person when your phone went off? You lost your job, got dumped and had a puddle splash all over your new coat when you heard the news making the day the worst day on earth? I don’t care. You would be doing exactly what you were doing even if someone you know didn’t die, so why is this story of any importance to me.
I almost forgot how people would piggyback a past death on the current death game. The barista at Starbucks dying brought up your favorite Uncle’s death from ten years ago? I almost feel bad for you except I really don’t. The most positive thing I’ll say is every death is unique and special; so don’t try to take away from such a beautiful and exceptional experience.
I write this because of how much people were implanting themselves on the Clackamas Town Center shooting and it reminded me how much people want to be a part of tragic events and death. They lean towards death like a tree towards sun. While I thought it was a tragic event, I was more bummed when I heard a pet store burnt down and some of the animals died and my baseball team’s divisional rivals signed Josh Hamilton to hit beside Albert Pujols.
I am not complaining about people whose really close friends or family members die, they get to do whatever they want and take as long as they want to grieve. Some people take mere days to recover and some people don’t ever bounce back from losing someone they legitimately love. I am talking about the people who need attention and acknowledgement for their unfounded emotions. Don’t be an emo vampire and just know you’ll have your turn some day when someone you actually are close to dies.