On August fifth, it still seemed like a big joke. I’m thankful I never posted this on Facebook. I almost did: Today, Anne Heche Tiger Woods-ed herself.
That’s me, directing inappropriate levity and maybe a bit of schadenfreude at not one, but two celebrities involved in high-speed, inebriated, single vehicle crashes. It remained unclear at the time that Heche’s accident was serious. And really, isn’t there something sort of funny about crashing into a house? “I swear officer, it wasn’t there a minute ago.” In Adams County, a mid-sized Pennsylvania community of 100,000 residents, someone crashes into a building at least twice a month. Possibly, this happens everywhere, all the time, and it’s only news in Adams County because nothing else happens here. Regardless, the frequency of these crashes catches pretty much everyone’s attention.
From my viewpoint, the last thing Anne Heche ever did was date Ellen DeGeneres in the late nineties. I remember her costarring in a movie with Harrison Ford, and coupling up with Ellen, and then nothing, I never heard of her again. Yesterday, my blogger friend Angie at King Ben’s Grandma referenced Alanis Morrissette. She wrote about Alanis’ successes as a singer of course, but also as an actor. Huh! Here I go again. After releasing her blockbuster album, Jagged Little Pill, and touring it for all it was worth, Morrissette dropped off my radar. I assumed she stepped off the stage. If I ever thought of her again, I envisioned her living in a comfortable split-level with a deck and a pool cashing royalty checks. Where did I get that image? It’s exactly what I would do if I achieved success early in my life.
I don’t do well keeping tabs on celebrity news. Susan probably knows all about what Anne and Alanis achieved over the past twenty-five years. First, she reads People Magazine online. But more importantly, she’s generally aware of what’s going on around her. Here’s a scene that plays out frequently in my life. When out walking our neighborhood walking loop, I’ll notice a car driving towards Susan and me. I’ll step off the road onto someone’s lawn to get out of the way. Susan says “don’t worry, they’ll park two houses up.” She knows every car in the neighborhood. I only know one car besides ours. A neighbor around the corner has the same pickup as us. The only reason I know this is because Susan suggested I go look at it when we were considering buying our own.
As it turns out Anne Heche lived a full life since first stepping into the limelight. This morning I saw the headline I expected for days: Anne Heche has died. A captioned photo gallery accompanied the article. Did you know that Anne Heche starred in a movie with Johnny Depp? And Tommy Lee Jones? And Robert DeNiro? Did you know that she directed a movie starring Sharon Stone? Was nominated for a Tony award? Did you know that Anne Heche competed in Dancing with the Stars?
Of course you did. These are the things people know. These are the things I somehow seem to miss. Decades ago, I knew stuff. I knew what Anne Heche and Alanis Morrisette were known for. I knew the popular actors and bands. I knew the movies playing in the movie theater. I could name supermodels on sight. Now I know nothing about the past twenty years. Somewhere along the way, I lost track of pop culture. I always assumed I lost interest. As it turns out, now that she died, I find I’m actually pretty interested in what Anne Heche did with her life.
Did you know people listen to podcasts? I hear they are quite popular. They’re essentially audio-only talk shows where the hosts engage in lively conversation on an interesting topic. I stumbled upon one of these last week and decided to listen. Five rock music experts discussed Camper Van Beethoven’s album Key Lime Pie for two hours and twenty minutes. It felt like I went to heaven. Over the weekend, I listened to my new friends talk about the Beastie Boys’ album Paul’s Boutique and the Beatles’ Revolver.
I feel energized participating in this newish wave of entertainment. Yes, all the music came out last century, but the podcast itself has only been around for a few years. A few weeks ago I wrote about Chapter Breaks, those quick but permanent descents in our physical and mental capacity that suddenly leave us feeling much older. Over the past few days I’ve felt the opposite sensation. By seeing all I’ve been missing, I accidently discovered a problem I didn’t know I had. All of this new information is revitalizing. Suddenly I realize that so much knowledge is close at hand. I only need to reach for it.