Why should I care, why should I care?
Lyric from 5:15 by the Who
Poor taste. I turn sixty next month. The next line of this song is ‘Girls of fifteen, sexually knowing.’ Every time I sing that lyric, I feel tarnished—stained, dirty. Is it creepy that Joan Jett still sings I Love Rock and Roll?
I saw him dancin’ there by the record machine
I knew he must’ve been about seventeen
The beat was goin’ strong
Playin’ my favorite song
And I could tell it wouldn’t be long
‘Til he was with me, yeah, me
Lots of child molestation in rock songs.
I digress. Why should I care? Why do any of us care, we Americans? Today’s is the largest headline I ever saw on CNN: QUEEN ELIZABETH DEAD AT 96. I know, head of state of several nations, blah blah blah, it’s a big deal, but her death affects me how? Truth be told, I’ve never given a shred of attention to Queen Elizabeth. In my lifetime, I first watched Charles and Diana. Later, I just watched Diana. Now I watch Kate and William and Meghan and Harry. I went through a brief phase in the eighties when I obsessed a bit about Stéphanie Grimaldi, Princess of Monaco, because she seemed like the bad girl, and who doesn’t love the bad girl. Fergie too, she caused some agitation.
Now Harry and Meghan satisfy my troublesome royal cravings—in fact, Harry filled this role since his strip billiards fiasco ten years ago. A month later, in the greatest public relations stunt of all time, Kate got herself photographed while sunbathing topless from a mile away. The world was outraged. FOUL! Such an invasion of privacy! Can’t we let the poor Windsors be? Harry’s behavior was forever knocked off the front page. Well, until he married that American.
I mean no disrespect to Queen Elizabeth. I fully expected this reaction to her death, and I think it’s well deserved. The Elizabethan Era will be discussed for centuries. Over the past seventy years, the entire world changed; Elizabeth did an amazing job changing with it. Rock-steady, that’s what I’d call her, but always adapting to be aligned with current times.
Such a milestone: I can’t help thinking her death today is a marker—a before and after. Many of us believe the world is in decline—climate change, war, water scarcity, a rise of racism and nationalism, covid, monkeypox, etcetera, etcetera. What if the Elizabethan Era was the good times. What if her reign was the magic glue holding everything together. When I saw the headline this afternoon, I thought beginning of the end. My pessimistic nature makes me look for trouble at every juncture. I worry that now things will start to get bad.
Ninety-six years is a life well lived, and incredibly, seventy-five of those with the person she loved. What a happy achievement. I’m sure she will be missed dearly by her family, and in a less direct way by millions of people around the world. In accordance with my spiritual beliefs, she isn’t now on to the afterlife, but her next life. If, as I’ve written before, our position at the start of any given life is determined by how we lived our last life, I expect Elizabeth to start at the top of the heap.
Why should I care? I don’t know, but like everybody else, I do.