The Coldest Sin

Not even six months have passed since Robin Williams’ ashes went into San Francisco Bay, and already his terminal wife and his various earlier children are engaged in an ugly and public legal battle over his “photographs, bicycles, fossils, and toys.” All parties to all suits robinscreaming “mine! mine! mine! mine!”

These people—all of them—are beyond repellent.

Williams is dead because, as his sister bipolar sufferer Carrie Fisher expressed it, “Robin had rampant empathy. Everything would end up on his grid. He’d walk in a room, and all the energy there would impact him. He was the opposite of selfish. Anything would hurt him.”

He finally hurt too much. He was just too sad: he didn’t want to be here anymore. And so he died, as frenetically as in his act he did live: “this knife’s not working; let’s try the belt.”

And now, the people he most loved, degrade that love by bickering over “everything from his clothing to his action figures.”

They know not what they do.

The Vikings of yore are not people one would want to wholly emulate—for instance, they favored most as “food” a thing called svartsoppa, which consisted of various semi-edibles tossed into a steaming vat of pig and goose blood.

However, I do like that ofttimes when some Viking died, s/he would be placed aboard a ship, together with all the now-departed’s worldly belongings, and then the ship would be set adrift, set afire.

No possible Williams-like quarreling over the remains burningthen. All gone up in smoke.

The Robin Williams spouse and spawn are hardly the only anathema to behave worse than any beasts.

After Jerry Garcia died, two of his wives thoroughly debased themselves in a Jerry Springer-like roadshow across countless courts and other embarrassed venues, squabbling over his music-based worldly goods, based solely upon the premise that once upon a time they had swallowed into their bodies his penis. They filled, endlessly, the public prints, with vicious and vile remarks about one another, of the sort that Garcia himself never publicly uttered, anywhere, at any time, about anybody.

Orson Welles, who died with almost as many films in various stages of completion as he’d successfully released while alive, long ago mouldered into corporeal nothingness in the grave, even as, decades on, one of his children, and the lover of the last decades of his life, continue to duel seemingly and stone-senselessly to the death, over what he left behind. Each wedded to the utter insane nonsense that his work, belongs to her.

His nearly-completed film The Other Side Of The Wind, for instance—and only Welles would have this sort of “luck”—was buried away in a vault for decades because some of the financing came from an Iranian associated with the regime of the Shah; when the Khomeini people came to power, they seized it as spoils of “the revolution.” When at last they let it go, it again went to limbo, as the Welles spouse and spawn both shrieked it gimme the gunbelonged to them. They’re still shrieking.

And it is not only people with means, or people of art, who behave in this way. A way that causes all extraterrestrials to remain as far away from this planet as possible.

When my brother died, my mother and I, with a massive assist from my then-partner, rolled away the dew. There wasn’t much of value there, there in his house; it was basically a clean-up operation. And in 115-degree temperatures that, statewide, killed that summer more than 100 people. In a house where, before his passing, the power had been unplugged. Hot fun and games. : /

We were nearly through the three-week clean, not much left but his gun-safe, which I’d left for near-last, as I couldn’t find the key. My brother, like a truly bewildering number of male people I somehow know, had, in his last years, commenced to gather many guns, in expectation they would someday be needed to beat back the gub’mint. From a left bent, this was—for many years before his death he voted only Communist—rather than right. Several of the neighbors had crept cross the street to whisper to me that he had many and valuable firearms in the safe; apparently he and these people would occasionally take them out and speak of their Need, as gun people will do. There were various and sundry loose guns, out of the safe, that I’d already given to my friend J, a working cowboy, and a man who, I knew, would use, or not use, them, or pass them on, or not pass them on, in a way that nobody would ever get hurt. I intended the same—giving to the right man—for those in the safe.

But then suddenly my brother’s ex, separated from him for some years, found that though everyone—including her—long believed them to be divorced, my brother had not actually finalized the paper process, and so she technically was still married to him. And, therefore, the Heir. Before she cut off all contact, she indicated that she had become Aware of the Bounty of the Guns. And then she imperiously swept my mother and I and my partner clean out of the house. And laid hands on the gun safe.

I hear she got it open. I hear she sold them. I hear she made some money.


Then there was the guy I know who wake up in the morningbegan moving material things out of his parents’ house and into his own—stealing them, to speak true—while his parents were still alive, but wheeled off, increasingly infirm, powerless to stop the thefts, to old-folks’ homes.

And the person who, decades before the parents’ passing, went around affixing identifying initials to the bottom of various sundry objects of theirs that the person coveted. Marking them as “mine! mine! mine! mine!”

The sage Harper Lee, in late age, observed that “greed is the coldest of deadly sins.”

Right she is.

She also suggested, observing a ravine, “that perhaps she could toss all her belongings in there and burn them, preferably shortly before she died, so she wouldn’t have to worry about her personal things falling into the wrong hands.”

Right again.

Burn it, bury it, leave it deep. My advice. As you, yourself, fly away. Want to pass something on to somebody? Do it while you’re alive. Otherwise, it’s for the burn. For the ravine. Don’t leave behind, what might tempt those left behind, to scrabble like shameless dung beetles grossly feeding on a stinking shit-heap. And thereby descend themselves into Hell. Even as you, yourself, rise.

2 Responses to “The Coldest Sin”

  1. 1 nancy a February 12, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    This. All of It.

    Thank You.

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When I Worked

February 2015

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