August 12th, 2008

By now, you’ve probably heard the bad news from the entertainment world. First, the world lost the hilarious and hard-working Bernie Mac. I’ve been a fan of his since I first saw him on Def Comedy Jam and it’s always a treat to see him pop up in a movie. His self-hating cop is probably my favorite part of “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” and I quote parts of it whenever I’m talking about some Uncle Tom. Then we get the sudden sad news that composer, singer, actor, voice actor and all-around soul man Isaac Hayes died. I don’t have words for how much I enjoyed his music and how much he cracked me up in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and South Park. Those are two really talented people that have left this Earth far too soon.

Then, it happened. You know what I’m talking about. “Aw man, they always go in threes.” No they don’t. This is what I think happens: people hear that celebrities always die in threes so people keep separating them into groups of three in their head. There’s another reason, but I’ll tell you that a bit later. Some people brought up that Estelle Getty would be the first of the three, but she passed away 18 days ago on July 22nd. Others brought up Jesse Helms but that was on the Fourth of July. A lot of people said George Carlin, but that was in June. June! How close do these three have to be? Can I put Marlon Brando, Fatty Arbuckle and the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu into the same group? It’s a group of three, isn’t it? I checked out IMDB’s ‘Died, 2008’ page and this page for reference and just a quick glance at January shows that Heath Ledger died in the same month as actress Suzanne Pleshette, chessmaster Bobby Fischer, the original horror host Vampira, Sir Edmund Hillary and Brad Renfro. June 2008 robbed us of George Carlin, NBC’s Tim Russert, special effects pioneer Stan Winston, blues man Bo Diddley, Cyd Charisse, and Don S. Davis (General Hammond from Stargate-SG1). Those aren’t even complete lists! So if you’re going to group together people people in different months, you’ll have to make groups bigger than three.

The second reason that I think people tend to stretch the group time periods out is psychological. It still doesn’t fully register in my head that George Carlin is gone even though it was over a month ago. I thought Estelle Getty died a week before Hayes and Mac when it was really longer than that. It’s a lesser version of the same feeling you have when someone that you know in real life passes away. Of course, another reason why it seems to happen in threes is probably because that’s as high as many entertainment reporters can count. Ba-dump-bump!

One Response to “They always happen in threes.”

  1. celebrities die in threes…

    Nevertheless there will always be a minority who will not get the point you are trying to make….