Today was but the first time of many.
‘Prince is…’ I began, before stopping to correct myself. ‘Prince was…’
The transition from ‘is’ to ‘was’ is a confounding one.
On the surface, it’s the changing of a vowel (i to a) and the addition of a consonant ( w ).
Looking closer, though, one can’t miss the symbolism of removing the ‘i’ – how this one fewer “I” in the world perfectly mirrors the passing of one we held dear.
Even the addition of the ‘w’ – a consonant that feels somehow forced from within the depths of us (for who would choose to designate another as past tense?) – represents an unmistakable crossing of that barrier to a place from which none returns.
I guess I should’ve known
By the way you parked your car sideways
That it wouldn’t last
– Little Red Corvette (1983)
We knew it wouldn’t last forever.
Why then do all of our actions argue against this fact?
Few got the meaning of Prince before it was time to say goodbye. Few noted the songs, versatility, lasting impact and pure Statement of Prince Rogers Nelson before we found ourselves standing here – wondering how best to tie things off.
Miles Davis waged protest through his horn, but Prince wore defiance in his facial hair.
However, if Prince was a call to action, many of us seem to have hit Snooze.
We’re awake now. But to what end?
Closin’ time, ugly lights, everybody’s inspected
– U Got the Look (1987)
So where do we go from here? Once again, we have collectively missed out on the essence of another.
Will we react to this loss by elevating one who fittingly (oh so fittingly) refused to join Apple Music by buying 1993’s The Hits back into the Top 10 for a week? (We will.)
Will we pay more attention to yet another funeral than we did to yet another life? (We may – you have to wait for funerals… Autopsies? We and cable news LIVE for those, however.)
Will we change our ways before missing out on celebrating yet another of our beautiful brothers and sisters while still they walk among us? (TBD.)
Dedicated to my good friend Shawn – one of the rare souls who got Prince long before the eulogies told him how to.