Monday, August 08, 2005


Good grief

I used to dislike Peter Jennings because he was a Canadian who made it big in America, something that was illegal to do the other way around. In Canada, the law demands that Canadians be hired before any other nationality. And Mr. Jennings stayed a Canadian citizen until 2003, something he said he did for his family. So, it seemed unfair that no American could go to Canada and become a top primetime newscaster, no less get work as a paper boy if in competition with a local who, for all we know, could have far less talent or ability to do the job.

Such are the ways of a country where two-thirds of its land cannot support humankind.

But this isn’t about bashing Canada, the only country left in the world with an identity crisis. No, this is about Mr. Jennings, who died on this day.

Whenever anyone I know personally or know of dies, I don’t just feel bad, I feel responsible. I always expect the police to arrive, accuse me, arrest me and take me away. It has always been this way with me, even though I could put an animal down quicker than it took to cancel Tony Danza’s talk show. So it is no wonder that I am ridden with guilt about everything I ever said against Peter Jennings now that he is dead and as I wait for the police to knock on my door.

Granted, I didn’t kill him and nor did I watch him do the news (I was a Brinkley-Chancellor fan, and don’t even ask how badly I felt when those guys bought it). I didn’t care for his style, approach or demeanor, but he is dead now and death changes everything. Not just literally, as is obvious. Dead men tell no tales because there are no stories to tell. It’s quiet time and the dead deserve their peace.

Besides, mourning is good for the living soul. We should all mourn and we should all feel guilty to still be alive while others die. We should also all feel at least a little responsibility for any other person's death. And it would be great if others felt that way so that when we become eternally quiet, we will have left something behind. A ripple, a grazing on all humanity.

So goodbye Peter. Rest in peace, I hope. Because if there isn’t peace on that side, then there ain’t no such thing.

At the end of each year, Cotolo Chronicles honors all celebrated persons and some not-so-famous persons with a special two-hour show that elaborates on the importance of everyone’s short time on a small planet.

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