In As You Like It, Shakespeare said man has seven ages. The first four are each expressed in a single word: infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier. The last three needed explanation. There's a stage where everything comes together, and the man becomes a judge. It's the stage with "Fair round belly, with good capon lin'd, / With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, / Full of wise saws." The sixth stage shows loose skin and the voice starting to crack and get higher. The last stage is second childhood.
My friend and first college roommate, Andy LaMarca, was right in the judge stage -- great health and weight, a hockey player and golfer, and enjoying family, friends, and his career as a feature film production manager. Then he died at the end of December. Massive heart attack. Fell right down. He was just 57, leaving a wife and two young daughters.
There's a stage that Shakespeare didn't define, but it's the decade where everyone you love starts dying. My mother left a little over a year ago, and now a friend my age has passed. There is no answer to "Is it fair?" It just is.
I originally met Andy's objects before I had met him. At the University of Denver, I walked into my freshman dorm room, a cube with two beds, and half the room was already occupied. His closet door was open, and his clothes were hung, divided neatly between shirts on hangers and pants on hangers. I didn't have any hangers.
His books on the shelf were in order of smallest to largest. There was one photo in a paper frame of a man in a military uniform. I picked it up. Out slipped a piece of paper that fell feather-like to the floor. I scooped it up and saw it was a funeral notice of Joe LaMarca, what had to be his father--who died at about the same age Andy did this week.
Andy was my roommate because we were both studying film. He dropped out after a semester to move to Los Angeles to be in film rather than study it. By the time I arrived in the Pacific city four years later to be his roommate again, he'd already worked as a camera assistant on several films including the infamous Roar, which is perhaps the world's most expensive home movie, produced and directed by Noel Marshall, starring Marshall, his sons John and Jerry, his then-wife Tippi Hedren and her teenage daughter Melanie Grifffith, to a cost of $17 million and a few lion maulings. It had already been in production a few years, and didn't finish until 1981, long after Andy left it to work on other low-budget films such as Grand Theft Auto, Malibu Beach, and Piranha.
(For the rest of the article, please click here, which will take you to the Huffington Post, where it first appeared.)
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