8:19 AM, Tuesday, October 31st, 2023:
Don't worry, this won't be some melodramatic letter to a dead celebrity ala "Letters To Lennon" from back in the day (that was kind of a cool idea though...). Jesus, I just linked to a Journey entry TWENTY-TWO YEARS ago. Matthew Perry was simply dear to me. I appreciated his openness and honesty so, so, so much.
And of course I wouldn't even make my own entry about SHOOTING THE SUPER BOWL, but I stop everything for this. Fuck my 100 entry rule... some years need more.
A couple things before I get into this: to all the "comedians" I blocked, you're just boring. It takes no skill to make internet jokes about people dying. I could even argue there's deeper routines that can work, but when you've succumbed to puns and memes about drowning? Zzzzzzz. It's cookie-cutter. You look weak and insecure. Also, your inability to process trauma makes you a bad comic. Good bye.
I didn't know Matthew (so I won't call him Matty - another annoying pattern the last few days), I loved Friends like everyone seemed to. He was certainly my favorite character... but as you can imagine with all of my public struggles the past quarter-century, his openness about his struggles were honorable. I shudder to think of my life if I had money 2000-2010. I still believe the project of "The Journey" is what kept me out of danger during those years, but sometimes the pain was so acute, unlimited funds would've been a disaster.
With Matthew, though, it was clear (to me anyway) that he never truly beat it. His last year of interviews was difficult to watch. The Friends reunion ripped me apart as he was so clearly on pain pills. I know his publicist mentioned dental work, but I wouldn't have put it past him to GET dental work to GET the pills or COVER the fact that he was taking them no matter what. I don't know how anyone with that kind of money/power ever truly escapes their demons. And whether or not he had drugs in his system when he drowned, there is a limit to what you can do to your heart. He was up to 55 vicodin a day at one point... it's herculean that he made it past that...
...but that to me is the gift: he was so, so strong. Without his strength we wouldn't know these details. He would've died years ago. There'd be no book, there'd be no interviews... the things that will indeed live forever. We're attracted to him the same way we're attracted to all of them: their art hit us. But the legs of his life were his ability to keep giving beyond the art. He used these last years to help so many people. Just knowing that "someone like him" couldn't figure it all out... almost seemed to help other focus their energy differently. I see it all the time with people struggling about ANYTHING. Oh if I only had THIS, I'd be OK. Oh if I get THIS job, I'll be fine. Just a few more bucks an hour my problems will vanish. No they won't. Once you find the core of your issue, you realize NONE of that matters. Once you actually understand who you are... you have a chance.
And listen, the last couple of months may indeed have been healthier for Matthew. Not sure we'll ever know because for some reason people around him always cover-up... but there is a limit to your body when it comes to drugs and alcohol. I think he was just tired. He doubled the 27 club though... and that second half is what made him immortal to me.
Of course on a personal note, telling this news to my kids was the fucking worst. We had friends over when the news broke and I texted them immediately in the same room to just SHHHHHHHHHHH about all of it. Cameron and Vienna watched every episode of Friends over COVID and adore it. Like... they're doing the Ross & Monica "Routine" for their talent show. They just clicked with it. The sex stuff just went directly over their heads and they just fell in love with those characters. Of course watching the reunion with them we did have some discussions about Matthew and explained that he was sick. Once our friends left we told them and it might be the first time I've seen Vienna get super quiet and have something HIT her. Cameron of course acts like a little adult and goes immediately to the "facts of the case" and "Well, sometimes this happens and..." which while adorable... is just his complete inability to process mature information. He's 9. As the days passed though they kept bringing it up. Cam got a bit more somber, Vienna did as well. We usually watch the Friends Thanksgiving episodes in November and we all admitted that would be tough. Just takes time of course...
...and of course I'm writing this entry. In a year of limited space I just threw all of that out the window, sat at a piano and sang "the song" and felt bad that's how he's going to be remembered. So I figured I'd do him a solid and make a video where he talks specifically about how he wanted to be remembered, within the music because, sorry man it's impossible to separate the two.
My goodness do I have an ability to make literally any song sad. It's why I don't like writing music anymore: my voice doesn't seem to work any other way and I'm super happy right now. <shrugs>
Alright, it's halloween. Expect a nice Halloween round-up tomorrow and the final two New Zealand entries... and then just MAYBE I can relax. What an unbelievable month.