Monday, December 21, 2009

Goodbye Brittany

I awoke this morning exactly an hour and twenty minutes ago at 4:04, and one of the things I do at that particular time is switch channels on my television to CNN. I choose CNN rather than my beloved MSNBC because I can't stand the morning programs at that network, namely "Morning Joe," with Joe Scarborough. I'm not a big fan of his sidekick either, Mika Brzezinski, though I respect her father immensely. I don't switch over to MSNBC until after eleven.
And I don't even listen to CNN at that time in the morning, but keep the TV mute while listening to The Bill Press Show on the radio.
This morning as I switched channels from the "Law & Order," program that had been playing while I had been sleeping to CNN, I was shocked to see one of the little side bar boxes appearing near the bottom of the screen.
I said this: "What?!" Then I said, "Oh no."
The letters in the little box spelled these words: "Actress Brittany Murphy Dead."
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Christmas service at Risen Church in Santa Monica. I was a tad surprised at the amount of attendees who showed up, it being so close to Christmas, and all. I thought many would already have headed out of town like my lovely case manager, Erin, but the basement room was near to full with mostly energetic young people, collage students, and recent graduates... by golly, I was in the midst of a gang of Yuppies.
Why do I attend this service being a Buddhist leaning individual at best, and atheist at the other end of the spectrum. Because I like it, and besides, you never know... I may one day be converted over to the ways of Jesus Christ. It happened quite rapidly to Saul on his way to Damascus I've been told. Hopefully if it happens I won't have to go blind like he did, but who knows, anything is possible and I limit myself to nothing.
Yes, I've read the Bible... and Taylor Caldwell too.
I enjoyed myself thoroughly having a lovely conversation with Maz, and securing a Christmas hug from lovely Leah, Erin's roommate. I also learned more about King Herod than I had ever hoped to, and of the baby Jesus's exile into Egypt to escape him.
Anyway, when I got back to my box shortly after nine in the evening I did not watch any news program, it's just not my custom in the late evenings to do so. I watched the film, "Enchanted," instead, and did not learn of Brittany's death earlier that day, apparently of a heart attack. I would not learn of that until this morning.
She was only 32. Ten years younger than my friend Jose Montoya, who died a little over a month ago, just as unexpectedly, and only 7 years older than another friend, Erin.
I've just been reading that maybe her death was not as unexpected as I had thought. Some say she had a prescription drug problem, which I'm sorry to hear about. At times like these I wonder how it is that I've survived to this ripe old age of 54, when I should have perished numerous times, numerous times for blatant misuse of dangerous combinations of non-prescription drugs. Hell, I should not have made it out of my teens.
I know that this morning while meditating, and counting each breath while doing so, recounting her life as I knew it, and Jose's, I appreciated the privilege of drawing each and every one of those breaths, a privilege that these two lovely people can no longer claim.
I will redouble my efforts to get Red Cross CPR training introduced on a regular basis within the SRHT infrastructure. Erin may think I've forgotten about that by now, but I haven't, and I won't.
I first became aware of Brittany while watching the 1995 Alicia Silverstone vehicle,
"Clueless." She played Silverstone's "project," a rather small role, but she made an impression. A little overweight, quirky girl, who made me catch my breath when she uttered the word, "stuff."
And soon I found her in other movies, a fine character actress in her own right, with a good sense of comedic timing, and always maintaining that quirky, sexy nature. It was always a pleasure to find her on the screen, or on my TV.
My God, just yesterday, escaping the constant rerunning of movies like, "Night at the Museum," "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," and "Dirty Dancing," I found Brittany with her one time boyfriend, Ashton Kutcher in "Just Married," which I had not seen entirely before, and I really enjoyed watching it, her performance especially. I didn't know it of course, but she had already been pronounced dead before I began watching.
I'd seen her a few weeks ago on the Sci Fi Channel, in some low budget earthquake movie, "MegaFault." She was the best thing in that effort. I'll always remember her work in, "Sin City," and as the voice of Luanne Platter, on "King of the Hill," arguably the sexist cartoon character on television today, mostly because of Brittany's huge talent.
And I'll never forget, back in 2001, during one of the darkest periods of my life, living with the monster in North Hollywood, finding Brittany on the cover of Maxim magazine while shopping in a Pavilion's supermarket, and how that little thing brightened my mood, and helped me get through that difficult time.
It's now 7:10 in the morning here in Los Angeles. At ten o'clock this morning I will attend a memorial at the James M Woods Community Center, on Fifth and San Julian, for all of those that we have lost during the last year here in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. I will be there for Jose.
I will also be there for Brittany.
Brittany Murphy. November 10, 1977 - December 20, 2009.
May she rest in peace.

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