April is a propulsive force in the north. Snow melts and the flotsam of spring appears, a child's mitten in the mud, a soap bubble ring, the lilac bushes bud, a light haze of green shows in the tops of trees. The cry of the lawn mower is heard. Mating begins, females ruffling their tailfeathers, young males biting the alpha male in the rump to drive him off. And soon, suddenly, all of nature will open up, leaf out, burgeon, thrive and prosper.
And then in the midst of it comes the anniversary of the massacre at Virginia Tech, with "survivors" talking on NPR about their pain and the healing process and how vulnerable they feel and how their lives have been affected. Thirty-two people were shot dead by a madman, and we remember them by listening to narcissistic mumbling. A man who was a friend of a victim said he was still recovering from the horror and trying to deal with his sense of loss, but he said not one word about his friend who died and a great deal about his own feelings. After a couple minutes of this, I wanted to break his arms.
If you are ambulatory and have most of your teeth and can take nourishment, you should be careful about lavish self-pity in public, my darlings. A memorial service is Not About You. Leave the stage to the parents and lovers of the victims and honor the dead by living out their best principles as you understand them. Put your maudlin preoccupations in a box and drop it in a landfill.
Maybe the man has not enough structure in his life. This can be a problem. I knew a woman in New York whose father died and who mourned him for months. When her mother announced that his old Pontiac would be sold, the daughter said no, Daddy's car should not go to a stranger, so she brought his big blue Pontiac to Manhattan, where she had to figure out the strategy of finding on-street parking spots, and this gave some structure to her life. To find a space nearby on Monday that will be good until Thursday morning at 8 a.m. is a joy, no matter what sort of problems you have.