CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Post Mortems

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By W.T. Wimpy Hiroto

(First published in The Rafu Shimpo on Feb. 17, 2010)

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We are creatures of reflection. Whether it be a recap of a sporting event, television show, concert, novel or disaster, we avidly want to read or talk about it with someone – preferably someone who saw/heard/read the same thing but anyone will do in a pinch. Sometimes I wonder why. Looking for a different interpretation? Confirmation? An unrelenting urge to share? Maybe looking for an argument? Whatever the answer, it’s water cooler conversation, beer bull, coffee chatter, cell phone phonics.
On the other hand there are special events that garner roman numerals because of perceived importance: Royalty, off-spring, Super Bowls. Less than super would be that which warrants a mere number: Obama, our 44th president; Toyota Motors, soon to return to #2 status; WTH, second son, third child. Rankings are only important to the select few (Forbes 400, Pulitzers, Oscars) or the close also-rans praying to break into the rankings. The rest are tossed into the world’s file 13. There can be only one Henry VIII.

As is often the case in CR2S’s current world, the whirr of the computer when turned on is a reminder that it’s deadline time. The Dell’s blue light that goes on is merely a signal to roil the creative juices. (Wherefore are thou?)

Unfortunately, the fingers now have to walk the walk and I must talk the talk without a script. If you have nothing better to do today, join me in reflection …

If dreadful events happen in triplicate, I shudder. A bigger-than-life brother-in-law, Gene “Moe” Kawamoto, succumbed last week. The next day a friend from never-to-be-forgotten Newport Beach years, Frank Interlandi, called it a lifetime.

(I can only hope the ant I squished today counts as number 3.)

The memory of “Moe” was celebrated Saturday by family and a rainbow of well wishers. A friendly, garrulous bear of a man, he gave everyone a year to prepare themselves for the inevitable; a typically considerate act from a devoted father, loving gramps and companion to all, young and old. Smiles and warmth outmaneuvered tears of sadness. The sands of time could not be stemmed. A big heart is sometimes a detriment when shared so often with so many. It was time …

The Interlandis were the first true friends I made after venturing into Newport Beach’s Fashion Island forty years ago. Frank was Los Angeles Times’ editorial cartoonist (“Below Olympus.”) Predeceased twin brother Phil’s drawings graced the pages of top magazines, including Playboy and New Yorker. Joining a tightly knit coterie (others included Dick Oldden, Virgil (VIP) Partch, John Dempsey as well as Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Conrad) of brilliant, often besotted, minds was unforgettable. New York had its Algonquin Hotel literati round table; Laguna Beach’s answer was Ivy House/White House/Yamato Restaurant. (A fringe member was James Walsworth III, the judge who conducted Frank Sinatra’s marriage to Barbara Marx.)

“Well, Wimpy, you’re the only one left,” a well-meaning observer noted at the conclusion of “Moe’s” service; a less than subtle reference to the fact I was the sole male survivor of the Murakami clan wives. A fact I was well aware of but didn’t feel it was necessary to be reminded. Or made public.

Mortality is not a concern of CR2S. (Morality, yes.) I don’t think I can even give you an acceptable definition of the word, except Shakespeare’s “one touch of nature.” (“Touch” meaning the weaknesses human flesh is heir to. Again, another reason to converse with Rev. Mark, I guess.) Whatever.
Let’s settle for the more mundane we’re all familiar with: “The good die young.” Ha. Ha.

If this subject makes some of you uncomfortable, it’s understandable, especially if you are a near peer of CR2S. Maybe you are a surviving spouse reading this blather or have recently lost a close friend or relative. Do you catch yourself wondering “Why (not) me?”

Naw, let’s not go there, at least today.

I do have a closing suggestion, though. I opened with the observation that we are all prone to reflect. Sunday I visited Evergreen Cemetery where there are many, many memories. We all too often forget what has passed and is the past.

A reminder every once in awhile is refreshing. Cleansing. Redemptive.

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W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached by e-mail. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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