A few days ago, Yahoo featured some of the most memorable events shown on TV that made the biggest impact on American audience. Interesting. So I decided to come up as well with my own list of events that have registered inexorably on my consciousness and continue to resonate with me somehow.
The Day the Music Died
The day the music died for me was when my favorite Beatle John Lennon passed away. The life of the leader of the greatest band in musical history had been cut short by a mere whacko who managed to get near him, pull out a gun and take half a dozen shots. It was totally incomprehensible. The murder didn’t make sense at all. Not to my very young mind at that time. My mom and sister found me crying some few days after and asked me what was wrong. I simply told them, “Because John Lennon is gone.” Both non-Beatle fans, they sneered and called me mawkish. Though I wasn’t really a huge Beatle fan myself then, I came to love some of their songs like “Ticket to Ride,” “In My Life” and “Michelle” among many others. Their cute hairstyle in the early 60s that matches their adorable sound made me feel more fond of the Fab Four. John Lennon’s departure from earth left me downhearted mysteriously for weeks. It could be that it somehow put a final dot on something that we wanted to hold dear forever. Or it could have been the early manifestation of my problem with saying goodbye. Maybe.
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life
I’ve loved them all..
– In My Life, The Beatles, 1967
The Unbelievable Verdict of OJ Simpson
The words “Not Guilty” left me in suspended disbelief at 2 a.m. here of October 3, 1995. The incriminating evidences, the strongest of which was the DNA, proved not material enough to bring OJ Simpson to jail. The jury inconceivably placed more credibility on the ridiculous but nonetheless indelible line “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” formulated by Simpson’s Dream Team Defense lawyers, referring to the gloves OJ supposedly used during the murder.
Months on end before the shocking verdict, I followed the story and the trial in the newspapers with fervor and consequently arrived with the same conviction majority of the Americans had had which was “Who else could have done it?”
The Bronco chase I did not get the opportunity to watch, but my deliberations at that time were, “Why the hell did he try to run away? What was he thinking?”
I even nudged my mother to ask my lawyer uncle when he came to visit us two months before the court verdict his two cents worth about the celebrated case. His surprising prophetic assessment: The defense is going to win hands down. He elaborated as to why but I had been a bit upset to absorb any of his technical explanations.
Although he lost in the subsequent civil trial, the fact that OJ Simpson has been walking as a free man is still disturbing to me. I gathered many people feel the same way.
May the Force Be with You
Something delightful refreshingly made it to my list. It’s the very first Star Wars movie which got shown here when I was still in gradeschool. It’s the movie that had me pining for Luke Skywalker in his immaculate white garb and dramatic laser sword. Such was not the case though in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” when the actor’s original pretty boy looks got altered due to a car accident that largely disfigured his face. The white garb in the succeeding movies was history as well.
But more than my infatuation for Luke Skywalker, watching the ground-breaking film (around 1978) at around nine years of age served as a landmark period for me that signaled my inception to the adolescence stage. Star Wars is the only sci-fi movie that gave me the distinctive sensation of being transported to a totally different dimension. The battle between good and evil taking place “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away..” is just awesome. I also thought Darth Vader looked dignified and formidably cool. I was enamored too with R2D2, C3PO, Princess Leia’s long white gown, the all-white Imperial Stormtroopers and quite charmingly, by Chewbacca’s sweet devotion to his master Han Solo.
The 9/11 Tragedy
This one I still find painful to write or talk about so I’d better not. I remember how it gave me sleepless nights. The loss of innocent lives masterminded by a single twisted mind remains beyond my comprehension up to this day. The goodness of humanity had prevailed on the whole yet the heartbreak of losing so many civilians, firefighters, not to mention all the soldiers in the war against terrorism that followed, remains poignant.
The One That Could Never Make My List
Whitney Houston’s death – It was included in Yahoo’s list but I was like “Are you kidding me?” This is the singer who counts “The Greatest Love of All” as one of her greatest hits. A song that brings to the fore the value of loving oneself.
I’m not a saint either and I confess to being a broken soul myself just like the rest. Although I’ve got to admit the only “addiction” I ever had in life was my predilection for drinking at least half a glass of Coke after every meal. And even that I successfully battled by alternating it with commercial green tea or milk tea. I mean I’ve known loneliness and almost all kinds of despair too. Still, if you have even a smidgeon of self-respect and concern for the people around who love you, you’d go to the ends of the earth not to let the demons of your addiction totally ruin you and claim your life. There can be no excuse for the choices Whitney Houston made in her life. There just isn’t.