Nights in the spirit world

In my grief-induced, covid-enforced world of solitary inertia, the line between movies and reality is becoming thinner. And clearly, the adventure-horror-fantasy world of film is far preferable.

The basic provisions needed to sustain oneself in this world are a modicum of actual food and a multitude of salty chips and salsa dip. Spirits are essential. Not the ghostly kind — I have five of those in the lowly bungalow, each of whom make frequent appearances during my binges of spirituality. I refer, of course, to the 80 proof spirits in the liquor cabinet — gin, rum, vodka, tequila, whiskey and brandy.

Which reminds me, I am out of Bombay London Dry Gin for tonight. I do have a small bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin (from their same 1761 recipe). As if the 86 proof gin wasn’t strong enough, the Bombay Spirits Company was kind enough to make the 94 proof Sapphire. So tonight I will have that.

On second thoughts, since I’ll be watching (for the umpteenth time) the 1971 New York drug crime classic ‘The French Connection,’ I’ll make this a whiskey night.

The other spirits in the house, the ghostly ones, will have to endure a steady stream of comments from their garrulous survivor, but I don’t think they mind. So far, I haven’t heard any complaints. In fact, I haven’t heard anything from any one of them, which is a constant disappointment to me. Every night I ask them to chime in when they feel like it, but never a peep.

When the movies end, the sadness kicks in. A kick in the gut, a punch in the heart. I would give every bottle of booze in the liquor cabinet for one night with S. Of course, I wouldn’t have to. She was a drinker too. It was sort of a hobby with us. We would begin drinking at cocktail hour — five o’clock in the shorter nights of summer; four o’clock in the long dark nights of winter.

It’s dark already and it’s only three o’clock. That’s because of the thunderstorm moving in. It’s going to be a long night.


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Jonathan Brandis — Too young to die

Jonathan Brandis hanged himself

“I want to be remembered as an actor who put in some good work in the beginning of his career and even better work at the end.”

THE END CAME TOO SOON

On November 11, 2003, former child star and ‘SeaQuest’ regular Jonathan Brandis was found hanged in his Los Angeles apartment.

He died the following day. He was 27 years old. Another member of the 27 Club — creative icons who died at age 27. They include rock musicians Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones and the famous graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Jonathan left no suicide note. Friends said he had been depressed over his fading career and was drinking heavily. They said he was crushed when his appearance in the 2002 drama ‘Hart’s War’ was cut to practically nothing.

“My biggest fear as an actor is being mediocre.”

FANS WANTED TO DIE TOO

His death came as a shock to his young fans. Several said they wanted to kill themselves. Others said his presence on the screen helped them through their own depression.

One fan wrote on social media: “He was my first childhood crush and was a hero to me. I would always watch NeverEnding Story, he got me through really tough times, I will love him forever for that.”

Jonathan Brandis began his career as a child model and made his acting debut in 1982 as Kevin Buchanan on the ABC soap opera ‘One Life to Live.’

He was in Stephen King’s 1990 supernatural horror miniseries ‘It,’ and that same year starred as Bastian Bux in ‘The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter.’

At the age of 17 he landed the role of boy genius Lucas Wolenczak in the 1993-96 TV series ‘SeaQuest DSV.’ He was the only actor to appear in all 57 episodes.

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Isolation in a Madhouse of Grief

Every night, his bungalow is a madhouse of grief.

It’s a good thing the old man has no neighbors. Otherwise they would be calling the police. They might wait until they hear a gunshot. Of course an overdose of pills makes no sound. So the police would not be called and his body would lie there for days. The indignity of death at its worst.

In this age of Covid he is well aware of the surreal tragedy overloading our minds like body bags. The nightly news has become the death hour. He reveres the heroism of the doctors and the nurses and the grocery clerks. His heart breaks at the sight of two-mile-long food lines. He knows he should get out of his own mind and his own drunken grief and join the front lines.

But he is confined and his isolation breeds morbid introspection. He is trapped in his own house and he is trapped in his own mind. He holds his self-involvement in contempt. But a person needs a companion when the world is going all to hell. You face it together. You give each other strength. You hold onto each other in the fading light.

It has been sixteen months since his wife died. You would think he would be getting over it by now. A former friend of his (former because he doesn’t call anymore), a man like him in his seventies who lost his wife two years ago, messaged him recently that he had fallen in love again. He said he had found the love of his life. The old man in the bungalow could hardly believe it. The love of his life was his wife. She was the life of his life. And when she died, he died.

He still eats and drinks (copiously) and feeds the cat and watches television and answers occasional phone calls from a couple of friends and members of his distant extended family and he talks to them about possibly moving away and starting a new life somewhere else, and they say amongst themselves, He’s fine, he’s dealing with it better now, he’ll be okay.

But when he hangs up the phone, the ghosts come out of the crawlspace, not just his wife’s but his son’s and his two brothers and he has another gin and takes two or more Xanax not counting them anymore and goes to bed and relives the nightmares and gets up in the morning and boils water for tea and feeds the cat and so on and so forth, but this is not living, this is waiting for death, not that he expects to be with his wife again in make-believe Heaven, but at least they will be together in oblivion and the madhouse of grief will be silent.


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