Well here it is election day on Writer Beat. Given the nature of this forum one might expect a political piece on this day. There are several of these already and most of what is to be said on these matters has already been stated exhaustively from all sides. As I sit to write this morning my mind has been taken to a different place so I do not begin with the intention of making this political. Within a climate which has become so highly politicized, however, I won't rule out a different conclusion. I suppose we'll both decide at the end.
I happened to glimpse the tag on a piece of clickbait early this morning. It read "tragically dead at 42".
I needed to take a moment to ponder this choice of adverb. Was it the death itself which was tragic or the fact that it occurred at 42? To determine this there is a bit more information required. Without this the story is incomplete and we've no way of knowing if indeed tragically is the appropriate choice. Consider this: Doe, aged 42, died today. Doe was born without limbs, genitalia or eyes and suffered a lifetime of chronic diarrhea. Now in this instance, after 42 years, one might consider that the adverb mercifully would serve as a better descriptor. What is so special about any life that makes it's end tragic? The vast majority of human beings who have exited this mortal coil have done so in complete anonymity.
What other types of death do we see? There are the suspiciously/mysteriously dead, mostly populated by trial witnesses, judges or political opponents. Oh, and holders of large insurance policies. There are the figuratively dead, of course; those who are cursed/blessed with the words "you are dead to me". These are rather frequent I understand. We also have both The Grateful Dead and the grateful dead, burn victims residing squarely in the latter.
Surely we can agree that there are those who fit the mold of the deservedly dead. All of the usual suspects there: Hitler, Mao, Jeffrey Dahmer, Pol Pot. There are some other notables which belong on that list, but outside of about a dirty dozen or so the additions to this category become a rather subjective matter. Some of our readers, I strongly suspect, might say the Ronald Reagan or Antonin Scalia belong in the category. I would disagree, but understand their sentiments. I have to confess that I would be very gratified to deposit a large, steaming pile of excrement upon Woodrow Wilson's resting place. I'd just be returning his favor.
There is really only one adverb which applies universally to all of our deaths: necessarily. At some point, to purposes that lie beyond our ken, we shall all be necessarily dead. The tragedy or grief, relief or elation, justified or felonious, all of these are the province of the living. Dead is dead. Death is easy. Only living is hard.
Today is election day. Tomorrow some will find their hopes have died. Again, for a purpose not for us to know, these hopes will be just as our own eventual fates: necessarily dead. The rest of us will have to continue living. If you have reached the point that the results of an election leave you feeling that there is nothing left to live for? Well then you, friend, have joined the ranks of the necessarily dead, albeit ahead of schedule.