HOW TO PROPERLY MOURN A CELEBRITY DEATH Roxane Gay
Study your reflection in the mirror. Practice your sad face. Practice making your eyes well with tears. Blink once so a single tear slowly slides down your face.
Set up camp outside of the hospital or home where the celebrity passed. Bring comfortable seating and ice-filled coolers. Drink wine, but not beer. Drink whiskey but not gin. That would be tacky.
Make memorabilia—t-shirts emblazoned with the celebrity’s likeness, fanny packs, commemorative mugs, mouse pads. Set up shop in a high traffic thoroughfare. Sell the memorial clothing at a significant mark up. Get rich.
Immediately embark on a trip around the world. At each destination, buy a copy of the newspaper from the day after the celebrity died. When the trip is over, put each front page in an album. Save the album in a safe place. It will be worth something some day.
If you are a television journalist, do the following:
Make a list of random celebrities, still living, who have little or no association with the dead celebrity.
Call them while you're on the air.
Ask them for their profound insights on their peer’s passing.
Pretend their commentary is relevant and/or applicable.
Analyze said commentary, parsing for additional significance.
Dissect the dead celebrity’s last days. Find out how they took their coffee.
Speculate about what was and what could have been.
Locate and interview ex-lovers, estranged family members, and former employees.
Say the same things over and over and over.
Laugh when you realize no one knows the difference.
Forgive all trespasses. In death, grant absolution.
Prior to granting absolution, interrogate every aspect of the dead celebrity’s life microscopically, paying particular attention to misdeeds and missteps.
If the dead celebrity has children ask: What about the children? Look sad. (See: Practice your sad face.)
If the dead celebrity has money ask: What will happen to the estate? Look pensive. Brush up on your math.
If you live in a major city, wander the streets, searching for news crews interviewing passersby. When in front of the camera, cry, messily. Rend your clothing. Discuss, somewhat incoherently, your uncertainty about your ability to continue living without the dead celebrity as part of the living world. Hold a picture of your beloved dead celebrity. Stare at the camera without blinking.
If you deem yourself enlightened, judge those who mourn for someone they did not really know. Belittle the outpouring of emotion. Feel better about yourself.
Make inappropriate jokes, the dirtier, the better.
Call your friends. Commiserate about your sorrow. When your ex sends you a text message in the middle of the night, go to his apartment and have vaguely unsatisfying mourning sex. Feel worse in the morning, still mourning.
Post plaintive messages to Facebook and other social networks expressing your shock and disbelief.
Pray. Hope for resurrection. Wait three days.
Throw a benefit to raise money in the dead celebrity’s memory. Keep the money for yourself.
Take bets on where, in the dead celebrity reel, your dead celebrity will appear at various forthcoming award ceremonies.
Go to your neighborhood bar. Drink beer, not wine. That would be tacky. Reminisce about the first time you <insert obscure connection to dead celebrity>.
If the celebrity was a musician, release a new album of original music. Continue to do so once every two years until the endeavor is no longer profitable.
Invent conspiracy theories about the dead celebrity, alive and well in Argentina with a woman named Maria or alive and well in Uzbekistan with Elvis and his secret love child.
Watch the news, obsessively, for hours at a time. Switch between networks. Keep track of the best coverage where best is measured by range of coverage, number of reporters covering the story, and A-list celebrity commentary. Determine which anchors have achieved the most convincing balance of sorrow and inquisition.
Build shrines. Flowers still wrapped in plastic, photos cut out from magazines, poster board decorated with markers, all work best. Extra points for the appropriate use of glitter glue, streamers and cocktail umbrellas. Surround your shrine with candles. Light them. Leave the shrine in the care of a stuffed animal.
Cry fat crocodile tears. Let them scald your face. Let them scar you.