When famous people croak, we unite and praise the person’s life. When normal people croak, we do the same thing, but it’s not a worldwide congregation of condolences, because why would it be? The world doesn’t know about Joe Shmoe. The world, however, knows about famous people. They entertain our lives and inspire us through their vitality and talent.
Whitney Houston’s death has affected us and despite her bouts of failures and misfortunes, she has been an incomparable force to our ears and souls. And with most famous people, she probably didn’t hold a place in your daily “care about you” sentiments but I’m willing to bet she shaped memories in you one way or another. If she didn’t, you probably live under a rock or you are deaf.
At age 5, I attended my first concert: Whitney Houston. My mother dressed my sister and me in our finest dresses, faux fur coats and on the way, we picked up a bouquet of roses as a gift for Ms. Houston. We had front row tickets and paraded to our seats proudly, anticipating a flash of eye contact. In the middle of the concert, she waved at my sister who held the roses waiting for that exact moment to occur. Together, we rushed the stage and tiptoed until it strained our soles, she smiled her huge smile as she accepted the bouquet. The adrenaline of the moment exhausted me and quickly put me to sleep, mid concert, on my mom’s lap. The thought tickles my heart.
Now, in weak moments, when my soul is strained, I watch YouTube videos of her singing the National Anthem. The prickly goosebumps that blanket my body never weaken and I’ve seen it 432 times. It lets me know that I do, indeed, still feel things.
When someone like her dies it is, in the least, thought provoking. I never had a conversation with the woman but she has impacted my life by creating memories, like the one when a friend and I karaoked “I Will Always Love You.” We nailed it, and the crowd went wild, as the crowd usually does when something moves them. It may not move them greatly, but the extent does not matter, does it? To live is to feel…