Today a song crept into my cranium that seems very fitting. You see, the guy who wrote it would be 44 today if he hadn't eaten lead in 1994. I remember hearing about this guy's death. I was sitting in some Toronto group home for wayward young adults I'd been dumped on, probably smoking a cigarette. I was more than likely bitching about how shitty MuchMusic had gotten when Lance Chilton got on and announced that Kurt Cobain was found dead.
The initial reaction was shock, mainly because he wasn't that much older than I was. At the time I wasn't too pissed off at him because I was a self-loathing idiot too. But there were angry people- fangurls and record company jackasses who thought they were robbed of something they deserved. And in Kurt's last angry insult, he took that thing away. Parents bitched that a corpse was corrupting their children while they were off screwing their secretaries; unappreciative teenage twats bitched that the corpse stole a future of art away from unappreciative suburban schoolgirls; boo-hoo and self-servitude at the expense of the corpse and his family ad infinitum.
While we may have loved the art his tormented mind produced, he didn't live for us. Kurt Cobain was an autonomous human being, one like you and me. Kurt lived and loved, certainly hated and seldom bathed. He was a male feminist and queerpositive straight dude long before it was trendy and without apologies. He was a mentally and physically ill man who lived out his life and illnesses in the public spectre when these things should have been a private matter.
Kurt Cobain was a self-conscious man like many skinny men are, and a meek self-pitying soul like so many addicts. He was a famous man who hated famous people; a modern-day Picasso-like abstract artist who couldn't keep up with the demand and loathed many of his customers. Kurt Cobain was an immensely adored man who couldn't figure out to love himself. He was a son and a father and a husband, a very sentient creature in a world that saw him as a product; one who liked expensive booze and drugs but derided the fans that paid for it all. Everybody wanted something from Kurt Cobain, but when he truly asked for help as a human being, nobody answered.
People who don't remember Kurt Cobain romanticize his death- the legend that he went down quickly and relatively painlessly. But those who were adults remember it differently. From overdose after overdose to suicide attempts to admissions at hospitals, Kurt Cobain and everyone around him knew he needed help in living. And like so many men before and since, he got sick of asking for directions. He was a dude whose life and death were as contradictory as the lyrics to the songs he wrote.
Adults don't blow their heads off because of momentary impulse. It's not a cry for attention. It's not a request for assistance. It's a final solution to unbearable pain. As selfish and weak as it is, I understand it because we're all selfish and weak from time-to-time. But even if the only afterlife is in the memories of your family, know this: suicide is not a victimless crime. By killing yourself, you are murdering somebody else's loved one. If you wouldn't kill a stranger's mother, father, son or daughter, why would you do it to your own family?
. Put 3 guys' kids through college by buying shit here.