By Brandon Abbs
A few weeks back, Jimi Jamison died. He was the lead singer of the 1980’s rock band Survivor, for whom my father passed on his love to me, and when he (my dad) read about Jamison’s heart attack-induced death in the paper, it saddened me. He was only sixty-three; neither me nor my father expected him to die so soon. Jamison had a great voice, and he was, in my opinion, one of music’s greats – yet most people, especially of the generation of which I happen to be part, probably don’t know who he is.
Discovering this led to thoughts on mortality. As much as Jamison meant to me and my dad, the majority of the community have no idea of his existence even now, upon his death. This is not something unique to Jamison. Joan Rivers died at 81 about three weeks prior to my writing, and it did not greatly affect me even though every tabloid was reporting on her demise and spotlighting her.
In this day and age, society places shame on your back for saying what I did above: that a death does not affect you. All deaths are apparently supposed to have an impact on you, but if they did, you yourself would die as you would be hit with remorse at a passing in the world roughly 106 times per minute, a little fact provided to me by Ask.com. (Whether you would actually die is to be determined, but you would certainly not have a happy existence.) You are going to care more about your own mother dying than you are about an old man you’ve never met in Portugal dying (hopefully). You can’t care about all death, basically, and that’s as it should be.
To spotlight the thought that a death will mean more to one person and less to the next, I did a little ¨man on the street¨ interview asking some people what they thought about the recent death of Jimi Jamison and got some responses.
From Robert Copland: ¨Who?… I don’t know who that is… so…,¨ From Christian Tamar: ¨I don’t know who that is.¨ From Chris Kauchak: ¨Who? I don’t know who he is,¨ before proceeding to look him up confusedly. And finally from Jack Tryzna: ¨Never heard of him. Really, you’re typing that in the paper? …Are you typing everything I say?¨
Acknowledgement of the dead is an askew force. Most people want to be remembered after they pass on; they don’t want to live their lives if they won’t be remembered because they don’t think it will then mean anything. Most want to do great things, so as to be remembered (presumably positively) by as many people as possible, but I think our perception of death is skewed. Our perception of the dead is also skewed. Your life is going to have some sort of impact on those around you no matter how hard you try or don’t try to leave one. Those who have passed from the world continue to affect it, and they don’t even have to be widely remembered to do so. Jimi Jamison, despite the fact that no one I know has heard of him, is widely remembered. However, I more than likely won’t be. That should be fine, because in the grand cosmic scheme of things, I can be sure of one thing: I existed.