Friday, February 24, 2006

Just Too Damn Sad to Contemplate

From the Raleigh News and Observer:
Chapel Hill -- One UNC-Chapel Hill student is dead and another in critical condition after falling from a third-floor dormitory window early this morning.

Keith Shawn Smith, 20, and Tyler Joseph Ely Downey, 19, were "horsing around" and running down the third-floor hallway of Stacy Residence Hall when they crashed through the window at the end of the building, said university spokeswoman Karen Moon.

Smith, a sophomore resident adviser from Greensboro, died during the early morning hours, Moon said.

What a sorry, tragic waste. And what a frickin' miracle that it doesn't happen more often. After getting over the shock of hearing about it and the tragedy of lives cut short, I couldn't help but think of how incredibly, wonderfully stupid and careless most of us were at that age. And I'm not just talking about when we were looped (and there's absolutely NO indication that alcohol or drugs had ANYTHING to do with the accident last night) - it didn't take being beer-soaked to just not think about the consequences of what we were doing. Or to think about them and convince ourselves that we didn't care. We were bright, funny, witty, smart (I was MUCH smarter about so many things then than I am now), brilliant and dumb. Oh, so horribly dumb. I've known very, very few 20-year-olds that weren't absolutely convinced that they were immortal, except for a couple that were so depressed and so convinced that they were not that they tried to hasten that end. It was a glorious age to be. It wasn't that we didn't know what was going on (hell, the Reagan Revolution was ushered in a month after my 20th birthday) - we just knew that we were bright enough and had enough energy to go fix all the broken stuff. And in many ways, some large and some small, I like to think that we've done some good. Many of the people that I most respected in school are now lawyers, teachers, professors, parents, business people, web designers, musicians and I believe they're all doing things to make the world a better place. Maybe not in the way we envisioned when we were sitting in an open window on the 3rd floor of Dey Hall or walking together across McCorkle Place at 3am on a warm spring night trying not to think about having finals in a couple of weeks, but I know we're doing our part. It's just too fucking sad to think about at least one of these guys not being able to look back 25 years from now on a life well-lived with another half to look forward to.

I'm going to go have a cry now.


Post a Comment

<< Home