Notebook – May 23, 1998
Now, the 20th century can end.
That was my first thought last Friday morning when I heard the news of
Frank Sinatra’s death. It was an odd moment: I had fallen asleep on the
couch the night before (something I’ve been doing a lot of lately since
I’ve been staying up until 1AM writing and editing), and when I awoke
the next day something told me to turn on the television before I even
opened my eyes all the way. The instant the TV came on, Katie Couric
said “in case you’re just waking up, Frank Sinatra died last night of a
heart attack. He was 82,” or something like that. Weird.*
I won’t bore or annoy you with a long essay about why Frank
will be missed. The networks and cable stations and newspapers and
magazines have been non-stop with their tributes, funeral coverage, and
specials. Let’s just say that now that he is gone, the 20th century can
end. He was that important to popular culture. In fact, he’s playing in
the background right now (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” live version
with Count Basie) as I type this.
I keep thinking that if my mom was still alive, she would
probably be crying right now over his death. Funny how a stranger’s
passing can sometimes remind you of the passing of those closest to
you. If we take into account theoretical relationships, that “six
degrees of separation” thing is astonishingly accurate.
And Thursday marked the passing of another pop culture institution: Seinfeld
(odd how they ended the same night , eh?). While nothing could have
lived up to the finale hype (one of the local stations here in Boston
actually had a Seinfeld clock in the lower left hand corner of
the TV screen, counting down the minutes to the last episode), I was
disappointed. Yeah, I know, I got the whole “these selfish four finally
got what was coming to them” irony and all that. But there was just
something…I don’t know…missing. Still, it didn’t ruin the previous
9 years of the show. Yada, yada, yada…you can read my review here.
*Another odd thing that happened: the night that
Princess Di was in the car accident, I went to bed after hearing the
news, thinking she was just injured and she would be fine. As I was
lying in bed, something told me to turn on the radio, and when I did, I
heard the news that she had died – instantly when I turned on the
radio. I guess the moral of the story is I should never go to bed, or
famous celebrities all around the world will die.