DONE TOO SOON

        “Jesus Christ, Fanny Brice
        Wolfgang Mozart and Humphrey Bogart
        And Genghis Khan
        And on to H. G. Wells…”

His death this week caught my eye. Rob Grill, lead singer of The Grass Roots, was not some young burnout; heck—he was 67: my decade. Ouch! It reminded me…it underscored, again…our fragility.

Back in my college days, when records played and replayed —a favorite album was Neil Diamond’s “Tap Roof Manuscript.” One cut (not released as a single) was a catchy collection of names—well-known people—-all with one thing in common.

        “Ho Chi Minh, Gunga Din
        Henry Luce and John Wilkes Booth
        And Alexanders King and Graham Bell.”

I first heard the song at our place in the alley behind the McDonald’s. These were glory days. Living with Alan and Marc, (again, Walt: why did I automatically get the room with no window?), it was the springtime of my life. First love, first car, first apartment—and nothing to do each day but smile at the future.

        “Ramar Krishna, Mama Whistler
        Patrice Lumumba and Russ Colombo
        Karl and Chico Marx
        Albert Camus…”

Some things I didn’t see coming: That my Dad, my vibrant Dad, would die so young….that, indeed, Art Lewis, (his best man) and Max Mitchell, (his best friend), would predecease him.

        “E. A. Poe, Henri Rousseau
        Sholom Aleichem and Caryl Chessman
        Alan Freed and Buster Keaton too…”

No, I breezed through my twenties, taking life—taking health for granted. Not once did I think that—could I even imagine God would seize David or Benny or Mark…before sixty. Why would I? We were, each of us, invincible.

        “And each one there
        Has one thing shared
        They have sweated beneath the same sun
        Looked up in wonder at the same moon
        And wept when it was all done
        For being done too soon.”

Today is all I have.

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