BY WOLE OGUNTOKUN
THIS is the last piece for 2009 and The Whisperer wishes everyone reading a beautiful end to the year and hopes only your good dreams will come to pass.
Earlier this month, The Whisperer wrote on this page, of his love and admiration for the female actor and singer, Brittany Murphy.
It was her essence that seemed to shine through and if some could not get what the fascination was about, it did not matter to him.
She appeared in the movies, Clueless; Girl, Interrupted (where Angelina Jolie-Pitt won herself an Oscar); the critically acclaimed Sin City and Edward Burns’ The Sidewalks of New York, among many others.
Seeing Brittany in a movie was enough to make me watch it. For those who follow The Whisperer’s articles, her name was a recurring theme; and it had to do with that happy face of hers, a child-like spirit even the magic of celluloid could not hide and the fact that she was always a delight to watch.
And then she died. Just like that. We were told she collapsed in the bathroom of the home she shared with her husband and died of a cardiac arrest at the age of 32.
I was numb with shock though I had never met with Ms. Murphy and was just a couple of weeks earlier, threatening to run the obstacle course that is the American Embassy if only to meet her.
Brittany was born to a mother of Irish and Eastern Europe descent and a father who is Italian-American, a product of the American dream but she was gone just like that, without notice or any kind of advance warning.
For me, it was like the death of Michael Jackson to many others. They had never met him either but felt that he had touched their lives in many ways.
How does someone whom you have never met affect you? All those of you who talk of Mandela or the grown men who have pictures of Christiano Ronaldo on their walls can explain that to the people asking.
It is not a thing that can actually be grasped; it is the idea of the person, the very essence (that word again) that connects with you when you come across the work, art or life of the person in issue, and Brittany was one of those who did it for me.
Nicole Kidman too, for those who may be wondering if there is a pattern, and a long list of people of African descent for those who may think I am stuck only on people of European/American descent.
And we come to the point of my writing today. What if I was attracted only to a certain kind of woman? Japanese? Korean? Aboriginal?
How does my love interest in only a certain kind of woman affect the life of anybody else?
Why do people make it a point to study the lives of others as if their lives depended on it while they leave their own cooking fires unattended? (Cue Tiger Woods to walk past at this moment)
MURPHY died and across the world and in many places, the rumbling started. How does a 32-year-old die of a cardiac arrest? The allusion? She might have been messing around in her bathroom with some substances.
The point is I do not care whatever she might have been doing. A beautiful woman died, and therein lies the tragedy.
She had no business dying. She should have lived to find more glory and fame, walk down the red carpet to pick an Oscar, give The Whisperer a hug on her way past his seat and a quick whisper in the ear saying, “I made it, Wole.”
We do not ask how children under the age of five years get cancer but they do. Will the truly wretched stand up and say it was on account of something the child’s parents did in a previous life?
Brittany Murphy died and that is the long and short of it. If she was not murdered, we must let the matter be and not whisper in dark and dank places of how she might have lost her life.
They say only people with good businesses mind their own, it would be a good thing if we could get more people to focus on theirs.
By the way, for those who do not know me, I have never smoked, drank or touched any substance that is labelled ‘a hard drug’. Am I human? Yes, I am.
I was talking to my friend yesterday, and she spoke of a rumour that went past her just after we left university, of me living in the home of a certain female ‘friend’ at one time in that area called Adeniyi Jones Avenue, Ikeja, where the truly well-heeled stay.
I remember the accommodation because I stayed there for a few years. It was a mighty house in which I counted seven bedrooms and back-quarters bigger than the houses most people stay in.
The thing, however, was the house was owned by my maternal uncle, my mother’s older brother and I stayed there alone except you wanted to count the times my first cousin, Bomi, my uncle’s daughter, would wander in from the university in Ibadan and spend time over.
It was her father’s house after all. The originators of the rumours were people I considered my friends, people I had fellowship with and prayed alongside.
It was mindless gossip, malicious, without basis, and therein lies Murphy ’s Law – the world is full of undeveloped minds and they will come after you, alive or dead.
STILL, what do we care that some people seem only obsessed at churning out grist for the rumour mills?
An elderly producer I used to think knew the limits of wisdom went on the pages of a newspaper a few days ago, to say Funke Akindele’s movie, Jenifa, only came to life because she was dating the marketer.
I felt demeaned, violated by reading such drivel and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what Akindele herself must feel like.
So, I ask that as we hurtle through the last days of this year and brace ourselves for the New Year, we make this world a better place in the little ways we can by not succumbing to this version of Murphy’s Law where people will speak evil of others just because they can.
Remind yourself that the best days of your life are not behind you, they are ahead of you. May 2010 be the best year you have lived through yet. Amen.