Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Jump

So, we have a jumper. Not your ordinary run of the mill, bi-polar, manic misfit that seeks a high point to leap from in between dosages. No this jumper was someone I knew of, had dinner with once, roamed his Summit Road home, swam in his pool, played with his twin boys a few times. This jumper was so atypical, that the Hollywood community is still in shock, especially those who knew him well, and the us that knew him sorta.

He had everything. The most beautiful -- significantly younger -- sexy blonde wife and two twelve year old twin boys (one selfish, one kind), equally adored by both parents. Warm, quite large Spanish digs rumored to be one of the three parcels that became of Eroll Flynn's estate after a bitter divorce with his 3 ex-wives. I think he bought what was once the stable house which was added on to over the years. It was utterly charming, filled with exquisite large pieces of art with thick heavy frames, some fine frescos on the ceilings, large spanish paver flooring, chunky over-stuffed furniture and a kitchen with an arch shaped barn door that opened at the top and bottom. However, I found the most impressive room to be the library where he purportedly spent huge volumes of time when not on a set somewhere. 

He had a fire and passion for his work that burned so deep he became a copious student of all things film and photography. He read voraciously. I remember his library being stacked from floor to ceiling and I was told he had read damn near everything in it. I touched the leather on his desk, some objects atop it. I felt the exciting climb to success in that room. Sheer inspiration.

I remember thinking what a lucky, lucky Brit he was. Hatched from humble folk across the pond. The man at the pinnacle with everything.

When I heard the news, just three hours after he jumped on Sunday, I couldn't believe it. It felt personal. One of my best friends is godmother to his children so I'm kinda of in the know. I couldn't believe it. I didn't really know the man at all but from what I'd heard, and all I'd seen, the brief cross sections of our lives, I couldn't believe it. He had what we all want ... everything ... and he still jumped. Inexplicable.

And the way he went out ... kinda selfish, creating nightmares and a legacy of horror for a few dozen people who saw him do it and for those whose boat he landed next to. Couldn't he have checked into a hotel room and contained the suicide to pills or a gunshot? Nope, the quirky charming unassuming action film genius found the biggest bridge in his kingdom, picked high noon, broad daylight and flew through the air as if testing his next high octane movie scene. I honestly don't even want to know what he was thinking.

So why am I so mental over this? Because he worked hard for, and got to where he wanted to. He hit the home run and was the hero of the game of life. Hoards of us are motivated by that illusion and the promise of a sustainable payoff. He had it all and the fucker still jumped. Can you only imagine the message that sends the rest of us ... It's not worth the trouble. Even with all the fame, success, love, money, cache, achievement ... life in general just ain't worth living. 

Yes, he jumped as intentionally as he directed his films leaving us with a disturbing, uneasy feeling that what we've been taught since birth about hard work, happiness, love and success could, quite possibly, all be wrong. Even the part about following your dreams and you shall be happy. He did all that and still jumped. 

Now what?

I touched his things one day and felt the promise of a life well lived. Picturing his urn on top of the leather desk I feel the dread and despair of a life well lived.

What can I learn of this dread? What mental poison knocked him back? What dark hopelessness motivated his awful exit? Who was that Shadowman playing out surreal scenes; silhouetted against a sunlit sky, plummeting like a spent Superman through the credits of his own twist ending? Is there some darkness, some sentient sinister intent just lurking behind the veil of contentment we all carry around with us like so many security blankets? Could that happen to me, you, us? Has the idea of happiness become a faded, cliched, outmoded commodity on this mangy planet? Being bartered here and there for so much glittery fools gold? So the harder I think, the deeper I go with this, I'm still upset, uneasy, undone. 

And maybe, just maybe.... that's exactly where I should be with all this.