If you aren’t aware, comedian Robert Schimmel died last Friday. I only saw him perform once, at the Improv in Houston. My friend Bob Biggerstaff opened for him, which is why we were at the show. Though I knew of Schimmel, I’d never seen him perform before. He was fucking hilarious. At the end of his set, he showed slides from a few years earlier when he was battling cancer (which had gone into remission by this time). In the photos he was frail and bald and obviously very ill from the chemotherapy, in stark contrast to his strong presence on stage. I don’t remember everything he said that night, but it was along the lines of love your people while you’re here and they’re here and live life to the fullest. Which is always good advice to follow.
He and I became “friends” on facebook a few months ago. I enjoyed his regular posts about comedy life and his family. This was a man who loved his kids. He was on a waiting list for a new liver, suffering from cirrhosis from Hep C (contracted during a blood transfusion), and he had become quite ill again though he maintained a good attitude. Then, last week, he was in the car with his 19-year-old daughter at the wheel. She swerved to avoid an accident and ended up flipping the car. Robert died from injuries sustained in the accident coupled with his already fragile state.
Since Mason died, I react differently to death than I used to. And Schimmel’s death has bothered me all week. I guess, like Mason’s death, it just seems so…ridiculous. After Robert battled cancer and came back and was currently battling another might-possibly-kill-you disease, it’s fucking absurd to die because of a car accident. I was talking to James about it, saying that it feels very wrong that his daughter will have to live with so much guilt even though her father might not have seen the end of the year anyway, and he reminded me: life just isn’t fucking fair.
Not trying to be a downer today. But it’s always good to have a reminder to tell the people you care about that you care, and keep the little bullshit in perspective. Because life sometimes has a really perverse way of doing business.
Read this for a great post from Larry Miller about Robert Schimmel. And life.