I really don't measure my life in relationship to celebrity. There was a time in my life when I actually knew a lot of celebrities... musicians and media people. None of them were really close friends, just business acquaintances. So, Muhammad Ali died at the age of 74. What's that got to do with me?
I found the rather clever cartoon above at this website.
I certainly look at the celebrity obits. How can you help that? My Facebook page already sports dozens of references to Ali's death, with each friend relating their bit about how and when he affected their lives.
My main interest in the celebrity obit nowadays is... How old was the deceased? This gives me an opportunity to revise my guess-ti-mate of just how long I have left before I croak.
Ali croaked at age 74... an average age for a man. 82 seems to be the favorite age for male dying.
How did the great fighter affect my life?
Back in the day, let's say around 1968, he was an anti-war icon with his "No Vietcong ever called me nigger" quote. This seemed incredibly brilliant to me at the age of 18, although it now seems like incoherent nonsense.
I chased around celebrity musicians in Woodstock way way back in the late 70s and 80s in the hope that they could do something to help me in my ambitions. Quite a few of those musicians have since kicked the bucket, and none of them did me a bit of good. Some of them did thoroughly enjoy playing the S&M game of pissing on me for chasing after them. A few of them asked me to work for them for free.
I did not attend the funerals of any of these musician celebrities. Many of the supporting cast musicians in Woodstock did in the forlorn hope that this would be a last chance for some of the sheen of celebrity to rub off on them.
Celebrity is so cheap nowadays. Back in the 60s and 70s, celebrity was a rare thing because media was limited. So, the celebrity figures of the 60s and 70s seemed bigger than life.
In the era of super mass media on the internet, Warhol's "Everybody will be famous for 15 minutes" maxim is literally true. Celebrities abound. I no longer even make the attempt to keep up.
I am content now to face the future of dying in anonymity. We all die alone.
When Myrna was dying in the hospital, I tried at first to rally all her friends and associates to visit her at the hospital. But, I quickly observed that neither she nor they really wanted that. Death is an intensely private and not very pretty thing. Myrna wanted to be left alone with me holding her hand in her last moments.
Only a handful of people really care for us during our lives. This is not a negative reflection on people. Intimacy is difficult and time consuming. We don't have the ability to care for a broad swath of humanity.
I will also die alone, with maybe my daughter at my bedside. Nobody will notice much that I am gone, and that's fine, too.