Did you ever see Steve McQueen’s first movie? It was a low-budget 1958 horror thriller called The Blob, in which an asteroid lands on earth.
The grizzled farmer who finds it in his field scratches his day-old beard and hitches up his dungarees while thinkin’ ‘er out. Then (reasoning like any scientist) he whacks the asteroid with a big old stick…
…and out oozes The Blob.
It’s a black, oily, gelatinous substance that gives no clue whatsoever to its goals, conflicts, or motivations. It just sits there, pulsing ever so slightly, waiting for someone (like a hapless old farmer) to say “Hey – what’s that? And what happens if you poke it with a stick?”
It consumes you, obviously. It flows against gravity up the stick and onto the old farmer’s hand. Hey – I can’t get this off! Help – hey, help, you kids!
Enter achingly-young Steve McQueen and some winsome lass. We’ll take him to Doc’s. He’ll know what to do. (Doc, it need not be pointed out, does not know what to do.)
Eventually The Blob eats pretty much the whole hamlet and the National Guard is called in. Steve McQueen freezes the diner-sized Blob (it’s eaten a lot) and Army helicopters fly the mass to be dropped in Antarctica where it will be immobilized by the cold, to await the really SERIOUSLY bad sequel in 1988.
HERE’S MY POINT:
Today is my husband’s deathiversary; he died two years ago. His death certificate actually lists The Day as tomorrow, since the rescue squad restarted his heart in the hospital. It was very noble of them, even if it did take his immediate and tidy death from a massive heart attack and draw it out into a 24-hour deathbed scene of massive brain damage and panting and an unconscious refusal to close his eyes even though he wasn’t in there any more – it was grim and horrible as you can imagine.
But March 29 is the day I found him dead in the doorway of the garden shed, so this is his deathiversary to me.
And I’m looking at my grief like I was a grizzled old farmer in a field.
The grief is black and oily and bloblike. It’s sitting there just pulsing, and I’m pretty sure if I poke it with a stick, it’s going to flow uphill and consume me.
So I’m walking around it suspiciously, scratching my day-old beard and hitching up my dungarees. I’m carefully choosing my stick. I’m setting up for the Blobbening. I’m hoping to ride it out and be left standing on the other side.
And it entertains me, as so many things do, that Jonathan thought Steve McQueen was a god. He would LOVE the idea that I’d need to be – if not rescued then at least exclaimed over – by Steve McQueen.
Who is ALSO dead. Jeesh.
Mental health. It’s part of the overall health quest, right? I get to write about what I want, surely?!
Steve McQueen. Cute at every age.