Dead or Alive?


I’ll be the first to admit that my memory suffers with the passing of every year, and especially so since going through chemo last year. But I discovered this particular memory issue many years ago, when my brain was still young and spry. When it comes to the mention of famous people, I often can’t tell you if they are dead or alive.


This week, I heard that we lost two famous people…Shirley Temple, and Sid Caesar. I admit it…I thought both of them were already gone. I guess it makes the shock easier to handle, and the grief less of a load, but it’s embarrassing to be totally unsure if someone well-known to all is dead or alive. I’ve discussed this with friends and some of them also suffer from this phenomenon. I’ve even gone so far as to search the web to see if others suffer from this memory weakness, and was surprised to find many websites dedicated to informing us about the status of famous people. Some of them even make a game of it. So, I’m guessing that many of us have an issue with remembering who we’ve lost.


It started me thinking…why do we forget which famous people are dead and which are still alive? We certainly don’t forget which of our relatives and friends are dead or alive, do we? And I can keep track of which community members have passed on, even though I might not have been that close with them. Maybe it’s a distance thing…we’re not close with those celebrities, so we’re not paying attention. Or maybe because we associate famous people with the age they were when they were most famous, we always think of them at that age, and keep them alive in our minds, and never consider that they could be nearing death. Or maybe the opposite is true…we know they were famous when we were very young, so we assume that since we are getting older, they must be dead by now.


I can’t explain it, but I do know that Elvis is dead. Or is he?


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