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2016 was a celebrity death match

So as we close the book on 2016, I think we can all agree on a couple of things:

1. Too many creative people, artists who filled our lives with joy, shuffled off this mortal coil last year.

2. Too many stupid people, cretins who fill our lives with angst, are still around as we head into a new year.

Why can’t it ever be the other way around?

From David Bowie to Prince to Gene Wilder to Carrie Fisher, a staggering number of entertainment icons who helped shape my youth are no longer around to practice their craft anymore. And while you may not have liked every piece of art these performers created (heck, some of you might not even call it “art”) there’s no denying that they followed their respective muses, wherever it led them.

Almost everyone who passed away in 2016 produced at least one thing that resonates — a performance, a song, a TV show — and that’s why it stings that they’re gone. These men and women took advantage of their time on this earth to create/design/perform something true to them, which ended up making a mark on our souls. And we will miss them, even though we didn’t know them personally.

I was thinking about this last week when George Michael passed away. I wonder if all these celebrity deaths in 2016 hit me harder because I’ve entered that phase of my life when I’m scanning the obituaries every morning to see if someone I know is in there. I’m uncomfortably closer to the finish line than I am to the starting line. Sometimes, it feels like the end is rushing towards me like a freight train and my time on this level of existence can now be counted on a couple pairs of hands.

And yet ...

With age comes wisdom, or so they say. But it’s not the wisdom of being able to recall the first time the Minnesota Twins won the World Series. That’s fake knowledge, only good for winning bar trivia or irritating friends. (And on a particularly good night at the Sunset Lounge, both!) Real knowledge comes from being smart enough, and brave enough, to make the best, most honest use of your precious time. Just like David Bowie, Prince, Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher, George Michael and countless others did. Some were world-famous, some may only have been known to you. But they all mattered.

Follow their example. Make a difference through sincerity and passion. You may not shape a generation with your choices, but you will definitely influence your own personal audience. So, why not do it in a positive way?

Wake them up before you go-go.

Brian is excited about 2017, the 30th anniversary of his wedding AND the Twins winning their first World Series! (In case you thought he didn’t know that … )

Brian Matuszak

Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater and invites you to follow him and his theater company on Twitter at twitter.com/rchickentheater, like them on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater and visit their website at RubberChickenTheater.com.

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