Today we lost a talented and gifted man. The city and state that call him home are now in mourning. Target field and the I35W bridge are lit in purple. Mourners will flock to Paisley Park and First Avenue to pay their respects to this man.
A man known as Prince.
I was a fan in so much as I appreciated his talent, and enjoyed his first and best movie as a young man. I may have even owned the album Purple Rain at one time. But that was the extent of my fandom.
Prince was too young to die. But we never get to pick when that happens, and maybe we are all too young in the end.
With all that being said, why does he deserve anymore hoopla than the dozens of others who lost their lives today, yesterday, or any other day. Prince touched many lives, but so do others, but without the glitz and glam.
What about the nurse who spent her life doing everything in her power to make those who suffered, feel a little better? No matter what was going on in her life, or her own medical condition, she showed up for work, and offered every patient a smile and comforting words.
How about a teacher who spends decades teaching children to read, write, and do basic math? When she started her career, children were different, more respectful of authority…polite. As the years passed, the children changed. At times her love of teaching came into question, but she continued. Not because of her pension, but because the good outweighed the bad. And because she loved the children.
Then there is the men and woman who are sent overseas to defend our way of life. I really cannot say the latter with a straight face. They are fighting a war that may never come to our shores. At least not with the casualties the men and women who faced that enemy have suffered. These people sacrifice so much more, and get so little in return. And I am not just talking about those who return home whole. Those that return home broken, either physically, mentally, or both, will never get back what they gave.
What happens when these heroes die?
For most, there will be a quiet ceremony with friends and family. Some of those friends will post an obituary on social media. But that will be the extent of it. If it was a tragic death like a car accident, or a shooting, then some mourners will place flowers, stuffed animals, and Mylar balloons at the scene. However, the display will be small, and quickly fade into poorly maintained cross that only occasionally sees the reappearance of Mylar as the years pass.
But not even the most popular teacher, a person who touched thousands of people in her life will not get the outpouring Prince is receiving. That nurse may not have become fast friends with every patient, but she did attend to hundreds if not thousands throughout her career. No masses will show up at the hospital she so faithfully served to show how deeply they mourn her loss.
That soldier who died alone in the street after serving three tours in the middle east will be lucky if his family shows up to bury him. If only one percent of the people who he potentially saved from a terrorist attack gathered for a public vigil, it would dwarf the masses that showed up at Paisley Park.
Time and again, we see those who live their lives in the spot light experience a final curtain call. Every time, the world acts like they knew them, and stop their lives to mourn.
Maybe the next time a celebrity passes, we should place a rose on the grave of a fallen soldier, or an apple on the final resting place of your favorite teacher. Then those who are finally done with life in the spotlight can be left to their families.