You Can’t Take It With You

Tombstone Shadows by Rick Payette on Flickr.

They’re dying to get in.

We’re all gonna die. And you ain’t never seen a U-Haul towed by a hearse.  We can’t take anything with us but we sure as hell leave stuff behind. In that spirit, we introduce “You Can’t Take It With You,” a column that will profile the recently deceased and what they’ll leave behind.  Without further ado here are our notable departures…

Heidi Holland 1947 to two Saturdays Ago
This Zimbabwe-born journalist chronicled governments white and black in South Africa and her home country.  It was once rumored that she called dictator Robert Mugabe ‘Sugar Lips.’  She leaves behind great journalism and takes with her that shred of Mugabe’s dignity.

Brent Grulke 1961 to two Mondays Ago
You know that song Daughters?  The John Mayer one with the line about daughters turning into wives and then mothers?  The one whose sappiness I (and maybe you) cannot stand?  You know who’s to blame?  This guy.  He built up the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas–which became the springboard to stardom for John Mayer and many others.

Nellie Gray 1924 to two Mondays Ago
48 years old when Roe v. Wade was decided, she quit her job and planned the first March for Life.  She expected it would also be the last, catalyzing the swift overturn of the controversial decision.  Swift it has not been: she is survived by Roe v. Wade and the March both.

Scott McKenzie 1939 to Saturday
Maybe this is a stretch, but I think you can blame the whole Summer of Love thing on McKenzie.  He crooned that song with the famous chorus: “If you’re going to San Francisco / Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.”  Well, after its release, 100,000 people came to San Francisco from around the world.  Some were without flowers, but all helped bring into the mainstream recreational drug use and free love.  You might say McKenzie made hippies.  It gets better.  McKenzie’s song became a theme of the ‘Prague Spring’ that led to the split between the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic in 1968.  The rest of McKenzie’s career was shameful–he failed to hit the charts until he wrote ‘Kokomo’ for the Beach Boys (which is quite possibly the worst song to ever top the Billboard Hot 100)–but for Czechoslovakians and Americans he damn near defined a generation.

Tony Scott 1944 to Sunday.
The director of Top Gun, Crimson Tide and other high-powered thrillers leaves us his gift every time some drunk in a bar drops to one knee and belts ‘You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling”.

Ivan the Gorilla 1962 to Tuesday
When I was a kid, there was this skate park at a run-down mall on the south side of Tacoma.  It wasn’t a great mall–in fact, it was falling apart–but enough people kept coming to keep it open.  They came mostly cause of the gorilla.  Seriously.  The mall kept 400-pound Ivan in a jungle-painted room right off the entrance.  Without Ivan and his gawkers and their money, I wouldn’t have had a place to learn how to BMX.  And were it not for those formative years at the skatepark, I probably wouldn’t have sported a red-dyed mohawk my sophomore year of high school.  Ivan, because of you my parents keep hidden that year’s school pictures.  Thanks.

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