Sid C (30.9.07): Al got stabbed in a street fight. He didn’t make it. Passed away around 1.
I waited for it to sink in. it didn’t. Somehow it didn’t seem real enough. Maybe because it was Al. The guy had been through hell and back many times over. Did he really run out of luck this time. It was not shocking that he got into a street fight. He had in the past and it was equally normal to expect him to come out it just about unscratched. People don’t just die in street fights at least not Al.
If there was ever a concrete model of flawed genius, it was Al. An exceptional natural athlete with one of the sharpest brains in law school. A rare combination without doubt. No one could argue that his heart was in the right place even if at times his head worked in a ‘different manner’. It were his excesses at times which made him both abnormal and normal at the same time. If not for such extreme streaks he would have been too perfect, almost a superhuman; a non human.
Cruel as it seems his getting killed on the day he finished law school, it was not devoid of some poetic sense. I mean, imagine Al going through mundane office chores everyday!
And of course he had lived! That’s what everyone would say. He had lived his life before he died. There are not many people dying at 22 that you could say things like that. People wouldn’t say such things about ‘achievers’ or people who had been perfectly genteel and ‘normal’. No, but when a guy who half the world called ‘mad’ dies, we say that he had lived.
It says something about the rest of us, what exactly I am not sure. Perhaps it shows what hypocrites we are. What we truly admire is also what we detest, fear or ridicule. Perhaps because we lack the courage to act according to our whims that we are uncomfortable with people like Al, who do so. But now that he is dead we see the futility of pretensions. In death there are no masks and no need for niceties. Why we need to carry them through life is something people should think about once in a while.