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Philip Seymour Hoffman Is Ticking Me Off

Dead. Dead. The word has lost a lot of its meaning over the past 20 years or so and I’m not sure why, really. Sometimes I think it’s all because the whole internet thing has melted huge parts of our consciences and our souls away. “Dead” doesn’t makes us feel sad right away anymore, or reflective, or even sorry. Hell, when I sign on to my jalopy laptop and hit the Yahoo! homepage, I see someone’s name in the Trending list, and I automatically feel a little offended by the fact that they very well might be dead and I am just finding out now, like 20 or 30 minutes after the fact. And that pisses me off, you know? I mean, I want to be informed.

I don’t want to be the last person on Facebook to post my memorial post to some fallen pop star or actress or whatever. Even if it’s someone lame, or unimportant. Even if it’s not even true, dude. Death hoax/meth schmokes! If there is even a slight chance of the fact that the sax player in the Saturday Night Live band just died, I want to spray that stuff up on my viral wall as soon as possible, you know?! So, yeah. It’s all so weird. The whole word, the whole idea of “dead,” has become something else entirely I’m afraid. Your death isn’t yours anymore, it’s ours. It’s mine.

And anyway. You’re dead, right?

So who cares?

—————————————————-

Fact is, against my better judgement, I keep getting seriously pissed off when good dads die young. Or even just guys who might have been dads, but never even gave themselves the chance. Last year, when Glee star Cory Monteith was found dead from a drug overdose, I just remember feeling way too angry with this guy than I had any right to whatsoever. Look, I had never seen his show, and I had never even seen him in anything at all. Truth be told, I had no idea what he looked like or what he sounded like or if he was in a wheelchair or had red hair. To me, he had been, more or less, a ghost in this world. Even when he was alive. We might have breathed in some of the same air at some point, might have walked the same city streets for just an afternoon once upon a time, but what did that matter in the end? We were nothing to each other.

Until he died.

Then, I felt this overwhelming wave of perplexing fury rising up from out of my guts. And like a lot of human reaction to anything we hear about from the internet or 24/7 news sources these days, I felt wildly offended; deeply and grotesquely offended by this young guys’ gargantuan gall to die all young and successful and yet so … so … inexperienced, so unfulfilled? “How could he do that?” I asked myself. “How could he just do a bunch of dope and die in a nice hotel all by himself before he ever got to know what it would be like to hold his own baby son or daughter in his arms? How could he be such a goddamn idiot?” I wondered, in all seriousness.

Yesterday as word came down that Philip Seymour Hoffman was dead, I tried to catch myself. I really did. I wanted to take my time and process his death, the death of an actor who, along with most of the rest of the world, I actually really, really loved. It seemed to me that allowing myself a little time to actually think about him and his work and his untimely exit, taking it all slowly and with thoughtfulness, would fit in with my newly found fascination with mindfulness. It would be my feeble, but proud, attempt at being a better person in this fleeting world. But, well. You know how these things end up going. One Google search leads to another, and the next thing you know I was bouncing off of some TMZ headline telling me that Hoffman died with a needle in his arm, straight into an image search of “Philip Seymour Hoffman father kids.” And I suppose that’s where I went wrong, huh? Same old story.

There he was, Hoffman the Daddy; perfectly dad-ish, perfectly schlubby, smirking, looking happy with a basketball under his dribbling hand as he walked alongside one of his young boys on a Manhattan street with a barely noticeable sneer directed at whatever paparazzi person was bugging him that particular afternoon.

And then there he was, Hoffman; the living, breathing, October-light jacket-wearing regular dude, out trick-or-treating with his kids on a semi-dark city street.

And there he was, Hoffman; alive as hell, making a funny face at one his kids as a big group of them sat and circled an outdoor cafe table in warm weather shorts and short sleeves. A summer brunch, maybe? Why the hell not? What’s better than that, right? What’s better than a summer brunch in the city with your family? I lost it then.

I lost my better judgement and my mindfulness, damn it. I lost everything good and slow and sensible and I just got angry. Furious, even. How could this man have traded in 20-some years of sobriety and tackling addiction and being a dad and a world-famous actor? How could he have traded in all of the things that he had going for him, his long love affair with one woman, and his Broadway street cred, just so that he could spend maybe one more night feeling the rush of thousand wild horses running through his veins, when he damn well knew that they were all fake, these horses, every last one of them, and that there wasn’t a real wild horse who would come within a thousand miles of him that night, as he sat there in his nest of lies and sadness?

Death is so strangely wonderful sometimes, when you’re old and decorated and beautifully finished laying down your tale. But I get so mad the rest of the time. It’s easy to say that Philip Seymour Hoffman was a man who didn’t have to die. It’s almost cliche, really. Yet, there it is. He probably didn’t have to die. At least not two nights ago. Or probably last night either. But he did.

And it pisses me off so bad.

Still, I’m starting to think that I am sadder than I can even admit, that I’m sadder than I even know what to do with, for another guy, another talent, another dad just like me whose thoughts I will never ever understand. Mostly because Phillip Seymour Hoffman? He’s dead now, and his thoughts and his love and his addiction, they’re all his and his alone from here on out.

 

Image Credit: www.neonan.com

You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie. And on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep up with Babble.com on Facebook.

More from Serge:

VIDEO: Best Big Brother in the World Will Make You Happy Cry

A Dad’s Mind-Blowing Gift to His Graduating Daughter

‘Me-Time’ for Dads: Web Series Absolutely NAILS Fatherhood

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