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We Hardly Knew Ye
Hey, guys, what would be your worst first date nightmare? Try this one: you
take a super girl (a superhero, even) to a nice place to eat. Perfect corner
table, everything's just right.
Until. Until you spy your next-table neighbor ... simply by following your
companion's transfixed gaze.
Oh, no. Couldn't someone please call an emergency dinner meeting at George?
Your date is seated directly across from John F. Kennedy, Jr.
When he's between girlfriends.
And so you think: might as well ask for the check now, as she will not hear
a word nor taste a bite.
(Unless, of course, you're with Breakup Girl, who turns out to be a super
multitasker; not even this country's superbachelor can take her mind entirely
Funny coda: BG's fave rave galpal M. is the world champion celebrity spotter. So I raced home to tell M.
about the intimate hour I'd just spent with JFK Jr. -- trumping, certainly,
M.'s handful of fleeting JFK rollerblade-bys. When I finished my tale,
breathless, I waited for M.'s concession speech.
"Oh," M said. "He had sex in my apartment."
(Sister used to live there; he dated her roommate; whatever. I gave up.)
Anyway. You guys know I don't mean to make light of his dark, dark death
(nor, of course, that of his wife and her sister). My God, on the contrary.
Nor, of course, am I trying to get all "See, I knew him!"
Even though, you see, it's like we all did. It's like we did. I don't need
to repeat those "from a doormanless building into chauffeurless car"
and "Hi, I'm John" and "could have been a shallow callow pretty
boy, but he made something of himself," and "he was one of us"
anecdotes. Because I also want to remind us that also, he wasn't. He wasn't one
of us. He was John F. Kennedy's son. He was larger-than-life and, at
once -- because of his regular guyness, larger-than-larger-than-life. That's
about as big as it gets.
So this sob goes out to all the curmudgeons whose backlash op-ed letters
I've read. Of course the authorities made an extra effort, okay? Of
course the press went nuts. Of course there are retrospectives and special
reports and "breaking" non-news. He was John F. Kennedy's son.
I am sorry, but this is news. This is news. Calista's weight,
Tonya/Nancy skategate, all those other frenzies, not so much. But this is news.
Sure, some reporting was icky and bad; sure they're trying to make money, to
best each other first and best-report second. Duh. But this is news. Just
because there's a lot doesn't mean it's not.
Because it's also not like there wasn't demand. Which came first, the
constant reporting, or our constant watching? Because I'm sorry, but we are
mourning. No, I didn't know him. But yeah, I went to the apartment, stood on
line with my lily. And don't tell me my grief is tacky. One jillion flowers
can't be wrong.
No -- without going into the particulars of speculation about the Kennedys'
love life, which is the part that really isn't public news -- I can't say
clearly how this is a Public Event As Breakup Girl Issue the way I can with
Arkansas, Paula Jones, etc. But at the risk of oversimplifying/
sentimentalizing, I will say that I hear from a lot of people who -- as a
generation -- could use some heroes. The ones who remember the three-year-old's
brave salute, of course. And, perhaps even more, the ones whose first "Do
You Remember Where You Were When You Heard..." is the Space Shuttle, or
Kurt Kobain, or, God help us, Kenny. The ones who snicker at authority. The
ones whose first First Couple never spent a night in Camelot.
So let us mourn, okay? Let us have some heros, okay? Even superheros need
them. And miss them.
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