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May You Be Inscribed In the Book of Life

When I was little, Yom Kippur scared the hell out of me. Who shall live? Who shall die? The book of life, communal guilt for wrongdoings, etc. etc. – HEAVY SHIT. During my maybe-I’ll-be-a-poet phase in high school, I noticed that my father read the NY Times Obituaries daily, and circa 1998 he began the occasional snail mail package of truly remarkable obits that I maybe (definitely) missed via my own subscription. He treated them like mini-biographies, always noting what he had learned on a Post-it. A few years ago, one of the packages and Yom Kippur coincided and ever since then I’ve taken note of the remarkable few or unremarkable many that pass away during the closing of the book season. Not to downplay the "summer of death" losses as I admittedly beefed up my Michael Jackson collection by roughly 60 songs over the last 3 months, but I haven’t fully conceptualized where celebrities’ names fall in the book of life. I imagine Farrah Fawcett’s is towards the front of the book and that her name is in a blondish-red, seriffed typeface. Ted Kennedy’s is a striking New York Times headline. Ed McMahon’s is off to the side on a huge foam core check. David Carradine’s is punctuated with a grasshopper. Yes-yes, this is crazy talk – unless you’ve read a Machzor lately. So with a nod to Dad and utter confusion toward the universe here are the circa Yom Kippur remarkable few and unremarkable many no matter what you believe. Feel free to add in the comments. William Safire – Pulitzer Prize winner and speechwriter for Nixon. Lucy Vodden – Inspired the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”. Edward Gelsthorpe – Ever used roll-on deodorant or had a cocktail with cranberry juice? This guy made that happen. Wilma Cozart Fine – A pioneer among female music producers. Don Fisher – Thanks for the Mom jeans and the pocketed t-shirt – the founder of GAP. Elizaveta Mukasei – A female Russian spy who lived in LA during World War II, and wrote textbooks for the K.G.B. spy school. 157 dead in Guinea

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