Celebrity Death Jokes

What will it take to get a Beatles reunion? Two bullets.

On Friday, an old acquaintance that I used to work with lost his older brother, who had been fighting a rather aggressive brain tumour for the last 15 years. I heard the news via Facebook, when my friend posted an old picture of his family, along with a beautiful message that made me cry. He was clearly a fighter. I, along with several hundred others, sent him a message of condolence.

I’ve never met his brother. If I’m being truthful, I didn’t even know he had a brother, let alone a brother that was fighting a serious illness. However, it didn’t stop me from feeling sympathy for him – I have two younger sisters and despite having a very complicated relationship with them I couldn’t possibly imagine what life would be like if something happened to one of them.

What’s the opposite of Christopher Reeves? Christopher Walken.

On Friday a helicopter crashed into a pub in Glasgow. To date, nine people have lost their lives. It’s an extremely tragic situation and my heart goes out to all of those involved and their families. Messages and donations have been pouring in from all over the world and service crews are still working hard to recover any further bodies that may still be in the rubble of the building.

Yesterday morning I awoke to the news that Paul Walker, star of the ‘Fast and the Furious’ film franchise, had been killed in a horrific car crash.

At only 40 years old, he was, by all accounts, in his prime. He was a father, had developed a successful career, was a passionate marine biologist and dedicated lots of his time with his humanitarian aid team, REACH OUT worldwide to offer his help in places such as Haiti and Chile. In fact, he had just left a charity event for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan when his car crashed and burst into flames, killing him and his friend, Roger Rodas. Roger was a successful businessman, working at the Bank of America for twenty years. He was also active within several charities, loved racing and co-owned a car repair shop with Paul.

Paul Walker dies at 40? I’d say at least 95.

Over recent years the news of a death of a celebrity often follows a particular pattern that I find quite disturbing. After the death is announced, social media sites will generally trend with heartfelt messages. Montage – based YouTube videos are uploaded. Collages are created, usually made up of still from their most famous films. After a while silly, antagonistic messages start to creep in – usually these are childish statements that are designed to upset the younger generations who haven’t yet learnt to ignore the trolls. Messages that were meant to express a feeling of sympathy become viscious arguments. Finally, the jokes begin, because the notion of celebrity almost creates a ‘no holds barred’ image – their lives, and their deaths, have become public property, and I find this extremely sad.

What’s the difference between February and Amy Winehouse? February makes it to 28!

While I am usually able to shrug lots of things off, it is this aspect of humanity that is one of my biggest annoyances. The irony of the way in which Paul Walker died was not lost on me, but at no point do I feel it is appropriate to start telling jokes about it and today I’ve witnessed some really disgusting messages. I never met him or Mr Rodas, in the same way that I had never met my friend’s brother. However, I wonder what the reaction would have been if I sent a message to my friend that mocked the way in which his brother died, or if I’d have tweeted the families of those lost in the helicopter tragedy with a joke.

What it is important to remember is that each person is a human being, regardless of their status. Paul Walker may have been famous, but his daughter will spend this Christmas without her father, and instead of sending ridiculous messages to each other we need to treat it with the appropriate respect.

Some people should be ashamed of themselves…

 

Bridget Jones: Mad About The Plot

imageIt was 11am and I was hanging out of the lounge window, smoking a cigarette. My head was pounding from the consumption of my entire bodyweight in Sambuca shots the night before and my feet were swollen and sore from the ridiculously high heels that I had insisted on wearing, despite knowing that I would only last half an hour in them before I had to take them off. I had make-up smeared down my face, my hair was creating it’s own style and had managed to stick up all over the place at the back and to finish the whole ensemble I was sporting my enormous blue ‘Winnie The Pooh’ dressing gown. Gorgeous. I heard the door open and in walked one of my nine flatmates (I lived in a flat of ten at my university Halls of Residence). He’d been up early and was returning from the gym, as he always did at the weekend. He looked at me, smiled and said:

“Morning Bridget!” Continue reading

P and D – An Inspirational Story

As a teacher there are certain students who touch your life more than you could ever possibly realise. P and D are two such students.

Both were in some of my very first classes as a newly qualified teacher. P was quite shy and socially a little awkward, but she worked hard and was a high achiever despite dealing with the fact that her mother was dying from breast cancer. D was visually impaired but was often the saving grace in many lessons because of his positive attitude and high spirits, despite finding it difficult in a mainstream school. If I’m being honest, neither of them had an easy time at school from the other students – children can be incredibly cruel. However, they never let any harsh comments or criticism affect their self-confidence and their studies.

Over the years I watched these two grow and develop into wonderful young adults. D was an enthusiastic member of my performing arts and music classes, performing several times in front of his peers. I started teaching P the piano and she discovered that she was naturally musical.

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In the year before I left the school, both had to deal with enormously cruel trials and tribulations of life. P’s mother passed away when P was just 15 years old and D was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 16. I visited D after he had started chemotherapy and was so proud of him for his ability to look on the positive side of things. P worked hard during her exams and did very well, continuing her studies into sixth form.

Over the last few years we’ve become close. I no longer teach either of them in school but we keep in toucImageh through texts and Facebook and I still teach P the piano occasionally, workload permitting. When I left the school, I told P that I would take her out for cocktails for her 18th birthday. P and I did the Race For Life together last year while D watched, being too ill to participate. D texts me a lot to let me know how he’s doing and I was delighted to see him on TV not long ago as part of a documentary about the NHS.

Earlier this year, The Bloke and I attended D’s 18th birthday party, which was packed with his family and friends. As promised, on P’s birthday a few weeks ago I took her and D for cocktails at my favourite restaurant, where we had a great time, particularly watching D consume his entire bodyweight in chicken wings and P attempting to balance in her fabulous but ridiculously high shoes.

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They’re currently doing extremely well for themsleves. D has fought hard against his illness and is in remission. He starts college in a few weeks where he is planning to continue his performance studies and regularly holds fund-raising events to raise money for Cancer Research. P helps out at her church regularly, where her father is the vicar. She has passed her A-Levels and has been given an unconditional offer to her first choice university, where she will be studying theology. What strikes me most about both of them is how happy they are. Yes, they both have their down days, but they pick themselves back up again and make me laugh with their thoughts and musings on life.

These two young people are an inspiration. Both could easily have given up on their dreams and wallowed in self-pity. Both could have blamed everyone else for their adversities and become angry and bitter. Instead, they have grabbed life with both hands and made the absolute most of everything they possibly can.

Their stories and characters serve as superb role-models to the rest of us. On days where I am upset by things that are essentially insignificant in the big picture of life I am reminded that there are always others that are dealing with huge issues and still maintain positivity and goals.  I’m proud of them both and the fact that I’ve been able to be a little part of their journeys. I know that they’re going to continue to be wonderful members of society. They remind me why I do the job in the first place.