Death and Bagels

Consider this exchange w/my husband earlier this morning:

Rick: “C. Everett Koop passed.”

Me: “Died?”

Rick: “Yep.”

Me: “Hmmm.”

C. Everett Koop, 96, former U.S. surgeon general, who infuriated conservatives and freaked out a whole lot of other people w/his public call for condom usage in AIDs prevention; unapologetic promotion of sex education for elementary school-age children; and loud condemnation of the lethal cigarette industry dies and I go “Hmmm”, and turn my attention back to breakfast. 

Assuming I’m not just hideously insensitive and plenty of other people reacted similarly, the message is simple: Seriously. Stop worrying so much about what other people think (I am terrible about this, by the way), because you die and everyone who doesn’t know you that well just shrugs and furrows their brow for a second then moves on. C. Everett Koop was a conservative pro-lifer who followed his conscience even when it strayed from party dicta. So whatever right means for you, do that for right’s sake. Nobody’s going to stop eating bagels because you made a choice they didn’t like, but they just might pause, cream cheese knife held aloft, nodding quietly over that one cool thing you did to make your life, or their lives, or the world a little better. And what’s so bad about that?