honorary Hose Monster:
People die all the time, famous people at that, and while we may make a mental note that someone dies or one blogger decides to draft a little eulogy for a once famous person, we read it, smile, say "oh yeah" and move on with our day. But some times the strangest of deaths affect us. I remember how devastated I felt after learning of Dave Thomas' passing last year. And from the looks of blogs I have read today, a number of us at least felt the passing of Mr. Fred Rogers and felt the need to write about it, like myself and Tony Pierce and Jeff Cooper and Berkeley Joe.
Say what you want about Mr. Rogers. He was a little creepy, and nobody is really that nice or that tripped up to have his own little make-believe land, or nobody could actually get away with dressing like that and still wearing Vans. Maybe Mr. Rogers was a little endearing precisely because he was just a little weird. Or maybe he was just spooky. Regardless, he provoked quite a reponse with his death. People will remember him for his character and his commitment to his principles and goals.
As I thought about the passing of Mr. Rogers into that big neighborhood in the sky, I started to wonder for what, if anything, people would remember me when I died.
Sure, I'm that guy who has a more than functional knowledge of the Victoria's Secret online catalogue who is completely unable to maintain any political position because he thinks his way through things way too much and doesn't just feel anything. That guy who writes a lot and never once bothers to proofread his text. Maybe people will remember me as the guy who talks to the john a lot. Or outside the realm of blogging, that guy who always seemed to accomplish so little with so much or managed to reach his goals with ease because he never set them that high, or maybe even for some positive things. Maybe my mother will remember me as a great son and my sister will recall how I was a great brother, and the friends I've made along the way will think that I had my shortcomiongs but never once failed to try and understand things from their point of view. Maybe any of these things. Maybe all of these things.
But it will stop there, I think.
Say what you want about Mr. Rogers, the man had an impact. He was a household name, the type of person who your sister wouldn't identify when you said you're watching Fred Rogers but would know immediately any reference to a Mr. Rogers. On the level of Madonna. A simple name to create an image, a persona that outshone his person.
I couldn't tell you what sort, but I know I'd like to leave more than a few sad friends and family when I pass. Maybe some sort of impact. I'm not going to teach children to tie their shoes or achieve notoriety for my musical and sexual escapades or even start a successful fast food chain and devote my very big heart to orphanages and adoption causes. I don't even know what I am going to do tomorrow. But 50 years from now, as I am winding down the time left I want to spend alive, I want to look back and know that even though I'm not famous, a very healthy amount of people will feel the impact of something I've done, anonymously or otherwise. But given my skill set and my current direction, I just really don't see that happening.
Not all of us can be a Mr. Rogers or a Dave Thomas, I suppose. Perhaps that's why we feel so beat up when we lose one of those guys, who for all the impact they've made on the people and things around them, they still seem to us like completely regular people.
Enjoy the next one Mr. Rogers. And say hi to Dave for me. I miss him.