Wednesday, December 21, 2005

elf obit, just in time for christmas

while normal americans spend the weeks leading up to christmas by searching for the perfect gifts for their loved ones, i spend that time wishing and hoping and thinking and praying for a story about a department-store santa, a christmas-tree farmer or a toymaker to share with my readers at christmastime.

it's the same kind of thrill i get when a politician dies on election day or close enough to election day that the obit runs the same day as election results. or when a military veteran's obit can run on memorial day or veteran's day. or a professional baseball player during the world series.

the dark side of my fixation is that these subjects, whose stories are so much fun to share at such appropriate times, have to be dead. don't get me wrong. i know that i have no power - short of murder - to make someone die on cue. but i do feel guilty, when i get what i wish for.

yesterday, i got a rush, then felt guilty for getting that rush, when i learned that
john lahoski, who dressed up as an elf for a local holiday train program, inspired by the "polar express" story, had died.

not only that, he apparently suffered a fatal heart attack while helping decorate a public place with holiday candles - en route to his elf gig.

i'll be working on christmas eve, writing obits to run in the plain dealer on christmas day. i'm still hoping for a department-store santa.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Alana, I am always looking for themed obits. Have never managed to find the perfect one for Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, etc. I too had been praying for the perfect Christmas-related life story for the Dec. 25 issue. I pondered a few prospects, including a woman who knitted hundreds of buntings (does anybody know what those are anymore?)-- Christmas stockings to put newborns in at the hospital.
But it felt forced.
I ended up with a woman who tended bar for 50 years all over Portland. She got tired of the customers' stale stories after five years, so moved on; had perfected the "bartender face" -- checking out mentally while looking interested. Not exactly Christmas-related, but I think the readers will enjoy her.