Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dear David Bowie

by Dick Mac

I still have the clock-radio I received for Christmas in 1980. One morning, in Roxbury, Massachusetts, it woke me with news radio station WEEI-AM announcing that my friends Kitty and Peter had been arrested in Maine while smuggling 24 tons of marijuana.  That startled me into the morning and I was wide awake.

On this day, last year, it woke me as it has done for most of the last 35+ years: with news.  On this particular day it was in Brooklyn, New York, and the NPR station, WNYC-AM, was airing Morning Edition.  The announcer’s voice stated clearly, concisely, and without even a touch of emotion that “rock star David Bowie died overnight, he was 69.”

I remembered hearing my phone beep and jingle much earlier, but I’d ignored it because nobody actually called. I assumed they were alerts from social media, or my broker, or a creditor. When I looked, however, they were mostly text messages from people in Europe (mostly England).

You were dead! David Bowie was dead.

I couldn’t recall the last time I’d heard you were dead. I think it was NEVER. This was a first. Again. And I had no idea you were setting yet another trend by departing this mortal coil. The weeks and months that followed saw scores of culturally significant humans also die. Always ahead of the curve, you are. They were just copying you!

I was numb. I called nobody, I responded to no messages, I don’t know what I did. When 7:00 AM passed, the phone started ringing and the text messages poured in.

I don’t know whom I spoke to first: Liz, my sister, my daughter . . . it’s a bit of a blur. It wasn’t you, that’s for sure. You were dead.

I’m not sure what happens when you die, so I don’t know if you’ve seen what a great time we’ve had since your passing. All kinds of tribute shows and parties. My goodness! You left quite a legacy and everyone wants to jump in and enjoy it. Did you see Perry Farrell sing “Rebel Rebel”? Wow!

There’s a tribute show at Terminal 5 tonight. A great line-up (basically your band). Tons of tickets available because it’s such a crap venue. You can skip this one. I am. If you know anyone who needs a ticket, send them my way: I have plenty!

Anyway, I wrote you a letter that day (January 11, 2016), but you never responded. That’s not like you, so I guess you really are dead.

Last year I said my life would be slightly less amusing without you. That has proven to be true; but I got a little frame . . . something cheap . . . for you.

Dear David Bowie 2016

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