Paul Walker died a few days ago in a fiery car crash involving a Porsche Carrera GT (incidentally one of my favorite supercars) and a telephone pole. And it was the first celebrity death to make me think for more than two seconds. It’s fascinating to see how people react to celebrity deaths. They act as if their own flesh and blood passed. I observed the same thing with Steve Irwin in 2006 and with Michael Jackson in 2009. I was a bit crass 7 years ago for the sake of comedy, but I’ve actually been analyzing this whole celebrity death thing the past few days.
Paul Walker was basically a joke of an actor. His performance in The Fast & Furious was hysterical. The entire movie is basically a huge joke for car enthusiasts to roast because of its laughably nonsensical script. The script isn’t Walker’s fault, but he was the vehicle to deliver it.
And despite this, I was a little bummed out. I mean, he left behind a 15 year old daughter. That’s pretty horrible. His death also just feels a little weird to me. Maybe because I grew up with his movies. It’s hard to say.
However, today I got perspective. This morning, I got word that a recent patient in the hospital had died. I met this woman on Friday. Her kidneys weren’t doing too well. She desperately wanted to make it home in time for Thanksgiving. Tearfully, she explained how she wanted to see her niece who just had a baby. They had to keep her for monitoring, but promised her that she’d make it home if she showed signs of improvement enough to make the team confident. Sadly, over the weekend, she took a turn for the worse and went into cardiac arrest. After failed aggressive resuscitation, they declared her dead. I was shocked. She was just here 3 days ago. We had all gotten attached to her. Here was an innocent woman who just wanted to be with her family. She wasn’t a celebrity. She was just your average Jane Doe. And I felt sadder for her than Paul Walker. Because she had actually touched my life, no matter how insignificantly.