Through the wonders of social media, those of us lucky enough to have met and known them have been able to share our responses, and the unanimous flavour for both men has been warm and immensely positive. Clearly, they both impressed a great many people in their time on the planet, and a great many of our mutual friends have been keen to express their sense of sadness and loss. It's all too late. That's harsh, I know - but it's true.
I have a long-established habit of saying how much I liked a person when it is too late to be of any use whatsoever, and it seems that I am by no means alone. In fact, almost everyone I know has the same tendency to wait until the person they knew has either snuffed it or left the hemispehere (or both) before mentioning how lovely they are - or at the very least - how much they have always liked them. My recent experiences have brought this home to me, along with the uncomfortable realisation that I am something of a dingleberry for not realising this earlier in my almost half century.
Random question: If I live to be one hundred years old, will my 50th birthday have been my half-life, and doesn't that make me retrospectively radioactive? Sorry; that was two random questions masquerading as one.
Here's my point; since it has dawned on me that, despite being a grumpy bastard of the highest order, I have been very lucky to meet an awful lot of people whom I genuinely like, it behoves me now to do something about letting them know how I feel, rather than waiting for them to die before letting anybody else know (after all at that point it's DEFINITELY too late to tell them in person), or for me to die, at which point I will probably struggle to adequately make my feelings known. Being dead really affects the vocabulary...unless of course, I write down stuff such as this.
I started today, therefore, by telling my facebook friends how I feel about them. I choose my FB friends carefully - nobody makes the list unless I actually DO like them, although the FB list is by no means exhaustive. One of them described the experience - remote though it was - as being a little 'awkward'. Others were unsure how to respond, and did so with ribald humour until it became clear that I was sincere. That made me smile, but in a good way. Doesn't that just encapsulate all the rather silly social norms that we so often build up around ourselves like suits of armour?The next part (face to face with other people in the real world) is more tricky but I have in the past been able to open up with individuals and tell them how I feel about them, so I'll just have to bite the bullet, cowboy-up (I love the delicious stupidity of that phrase - it's so stupid it manages to parody itself) and get on with it.
Introducing or prompting thoughts to other people is very fulfilling; prompting thoughts of simple positivity is a real feel-good moment. I hope everyone understands that this sarcastic old fart is baring part of his self in order to communicate as openly as he can.
Wish me luck...