Nora Ephron and Phillip Seymour Hoffman

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Strange headline, right? I mean, what do they even have in common besides being deceased celebrities? What they have in common is my reaction.

Like most American women, I adored Nora Ephron. Her movies spoke to me in ways that no one else’s did. And, even though she was a generation ahead of me, I could relate to her. For example, when reading about her neck, I couldn’t relate right then because there’s nothing wrong with mine, but I could relate because I know the day is coming. 

Much like Julie Powell fantasized about becoming friends with Julia Child, I dreamed of meeting Nora and we would become best buds. Disappointingly, that’s no longer a possibility and that saddens me. No, not just for my loss of a pipe dream, but the world’s loss of her amazing talent.

Nora has been on my mind because I just finished listening to the Audible version of her sister, Delia’s, book – Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog, etc. I have never read anything by Delia Ephron before and technically I still haven’t, because Meg Ryan read it to me. Well, me and whomever else purchased the book from Audible, but listening to it, in my car, driving to work in the dark it felt like it was just Meg Ryan and me.

But, I digress.

Delia’s book has Nora running through it, as you would expect because Delia lost a sibling, a best friend, a big sister. We lost a talented celebrity.

Still, the book brought Nora and loss back to my thoughts which is how I’ve linked her to Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death on February 2nd.

With Nora, I feel sadness. With Phillip, I’m pissed.

Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn’t your typical movie star. He looked like the guy down the street. (Really, there’s a gut in my neighborhood who looks like him.) He was reachable and somehow normal and he did something most of us can only dream about – he won an Oscar. An Oscar! He embodied the very idea that we can all be successful in our chosen careers, because he made it in a land that values beauty over brains and he was the opposite.

I’m pissed for a lot of reasons, not in the least is that he caused his own death. How could he do that to his three children. He left a ten year old son fatherless. A son needs a dad and I know this is crazy, but when those little girls get married, he’s not going to be there to walk them down the aisle. How could he do that to them?

I get it, addiction is hard. I’m a smoker. I’ve quit smoking – even for years at a time and I always go back – I quit this last June. So, even though it isn’t heroin addiction, I get how hard quitting is.

But, he had been, according to news reports, clean for twenty years – Dude, why start again now? What the heck was so bad that you needed 50 bags of the stuff?

And, I’m mad because he should have known better – we’re the same age. Dude, we’re 46 – the days of reckless abandon are over. Life doesn’t have to be boring, but shooting up? That’s too much excitement. He should’ve known better. Seriously,  46 – never do heroin. It should be a rule.

And, I’m tired of drugs in general. Do them, don’t do them – I don’t care. But, if you choose the former and then you quit, I’m not throwing any medals your way. I certainly don’t deserve any for quitting smoking. People who make it through life without a crutch – they deserve medals. My mother grew up in a house with smokers and never once touched a cigarette. Not once. She deserved a medal.

But, the rest of us don’t.


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