Well, Gary Coleman died yesterday. Apparently, he's lived in Utah for the past few years. I had no idea. There I was, passing his home of Santaquin on my voyages to and from Cedar City, and all the while, a part of my television childhood was right there, in the same town as Elder Larsen (I think was that even his name) from my MTC group. And I had no idea whatsoever.
Now whenever I pass the Santaquin exit, I just know that I'm going to think, "There's where Elder Larsen grew up. Oh, and there's where Gary Coleman used to live. Oh yeah, and that's also the sign that my cousin Julie used to always get her 'Q' from when we would play the alphabet game on the road." And by the time I've thought through all of that, I will have left the exit in the dust and I'll continue my drive.
Diff'rent Strokes used to be my very favorite television show when I was growing up. I remember watching the opening credits with my brothers. As the theme music and different scenes from the show would play, we would yell out, "Seen that!" every time we had seen that particular scene in an episode.
(I'm in a Monk phase now with our Netflix subscription. I'm about halfway through season two, and when they show a familiar scene with the opening credits, I think to myself, "Seen that!" I did the same thing with Psych until I had seen all that was available on DVD. Some habits never die I guess.)
Gary Coleman was three years older than me. I remember I always thought that was weird growing up--that this short little kid that I watched every Friday night (it was on Fridays, right?) before Facts of Life was actually older than me.
It's hard to read now about his life, how sad he was, all the health problems and financial problems and family problems and everything other kind of problem that life threw at him. I mean, we all have problems I know, and we all have choices to make, and a fair amount of the time, our problems are directly or indirectly related to those choices that we've made. All the same, given the choice between my life and Gary's life, I'll choose mine every single time.
Anyway, I hope he finds a little more peace now.