Oh, those words that get tossed about until they are rendered meaningless. The news had two non-default related things to talk about recently and, strangely, they both got the same word: tragedy. They got it right. Once.
If you are a Norwegian, you experienced a tragedy. In fact, you experienced a Tragedy. We're with you 100% as you try to come to terms with this.
If you are a highly publicized drug addict who is no longer alive, however, you are merely an inevitability.
Let's reserve tragedy for actual tragedies.
While perusing people's responses to said inevitability, something ungracious occurred to me: when a smoker dies of lung cancer, no one calls it a tragedy. That's because we all expect that smokers know they're going to die of lung cancer when they start smoking.
Pardon me, when they CHOOSE to start smoking.
Why, then, is one death brought about by a conscious choice less tragic than one, say, brought about by the CHOICE to do heroin?
If addiction is an illness, and I am not getting into that debate here, surely both the addiction to heroin and the addiction to cigarettes are both illnesses, right?
In only the most bizarre of instances is anyone forced to try a cigarette or try heroin the first time.
Yet the addict who overcomes an addiction to heroin is a hero and the addict who succumbs is tragic. Whereas the smoker who quits is an "it's about time," and he who dies "should have known better."
Where are the accolades for he who never tried heroin in the first place? Shouldn't there be some kind of prize for that?
Surely the collective fascination with drug addicts can't be attributed to their not knowing better. We can't possibly be saying that the smoker should have known better than to start smoking in the first place, but the tweaker couldn't help himself. After all, there was a day in both of those people's lives when they, for the first time, chose their poison.
And I'm not saying it isn't hard, once attached, to break up with one's addiction. But people do it. They're not heroes, they're making the right choice belatedly. And good for them!
Conversely, those who never make the right choice don't really get my sympathy, which I'm reserving for Norwegians.
3 weeks ago