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Later Michael said that the experience reminded him of seeing the movie Love Story, in a packed to the brim New York City theater, full of hard-bitten New Yorkers, who sniffled and sobbed every time the heroine or the hero spoke the immortal words: “love means never having to say you’re sorry.” If only!
I was reminded of seeing the film West Side Story, which came around when I was 10 years old. I saw it with my cousin, who was older, wiser, and, in my mind’s eye, cooler than me in every way imaginable. Everyone seemed to be sniveling, but not her. She didn’t cry. So I wouldn’t cry. I think I sprained something deep in my throat, and perhaps my soul, with the effort.
This morning I talked with son Miguel. I told him about the film. He said he believes that people like sob stories; they appeal to the voyeuristic instinct in all of us. We know of life’s inevitable truths — loss and death — but when, as children, we watch Bambi, or Old Yeller, or Charlotte’s Web, we witness someone else's tragedy. Not our own. We get to leave the theater, go home, unscathed, our Kleenex used and tossed into the trash along with our temporary heartache.
|Where do I begin?|
I soon realized that I wasn’t the only one in denial of my destiny. We all are. No matter how green your paradise, no matter how many millions in your bank account, no matter how wonderful or horrible you are, you will die. So I say live creatively, love lavishly, create irony, so that when the tragedy of your death occurs, perhaps the drama of your story will be fodder for a Golden Globe-winning, tear-jerking film. The world will cry for you. And you will go down in cinematic history.