Elaine Stritch died yesterday. As did a lot of other people.
A plane full of people, something close to 300 people, was shot down over Ukraine. A lot of prominent AIDS researchers were among the passengers, the now dead.
With the world’s attention shifted to this, Israel sent ground troops into Gaza, and yet more Palestinians were killed.
There is so much bad news lately, so much disregard for human life - people actually protesting buses of migrant children, yelling at them; insane and unpunished police brutality; planes shot from the sky; rockets fired into Israeli and Palestinian civilian areas.
There is always this stuff, but the convergence of so much of it yesterday proved particularly dispiriting. I am not sure what can be done, where to even direct my outrage to, that there are so many things to be outraged about, so many things not even mentioned here, that it leaves one feeling quite powerless against the seemingly unstoppable forces of stupidity and hate in our world.
And so I did what could be done last night. I went out for drinks with a friend last night at Marie’s Crisis. Elaine Stritch had died, this firecracker of a woman, and I wanted to hear people with joy singing some of the songs she made famous.
I don’t know what the solution is other than to approach life with as much joy and playfulness as Elaine Stritch did. There is a lot beyond my control. I can go out though and have fun and celebrate life and be surrounded by a crowd of musical theater folks all singing along to “Ladies Who Lunch,” raising their glasses again and again at the line “I’ll drink to that” throughout the song.
And I can take the song’s ending lines as an incantation, a call to arms, Elaine from the grave telling us something: “Everybody rise! Everybody rise! Everybody rise!”