Everything is ending- Am I Dying?
Man, I feel like this already?
TNT color commentator and former Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller often says the following whilst being an incredibly annoying pundit:
“Father Time is undefeated.”
I’ve never questioned this phrase. It seems rather obviously true. I just didn’t realise the Father would be coming for me so soon.
I think he could have at least spread it out a bit. I didn’t need this Thanos-sized fist hitting my jaw straight on, with each knuckle being something else I deeply care about soon coming to its end.
A knuckle for Game of Thrones, whose 8th and final season debuted last night.
One for Avengers Endgame, which will end a twenty film culmination later this month.
Another for Star Wars, Episode IX, ending a trilogy but rounding off a forty year saga later this year.
And sharing the last is Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade; who hung up their sneakers for the final time this past week, after 21- and 16- year careers respectively.
And so I ask you, lord of lords…am I dying?
You can tell me, I know how to keep a secret. Why are all the things I love coming to an end? I’m beginning to get suspicious. Does Hollywood have knowledge of an asteroid headed for the earth? Are the Great Spirits of the world taking pity on me, giving me final conclusions before I move on? I can only assume it is one of these options, because it is surely not possible for all this to end at once. Surely, I am not that old yet.
Let me count those knuckles out for you again. Perhaps dating them can give us some context.
Iron Man, the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Sorry, Hulk), released two months before I turned eighteen. I saw it just after my exams, and was probably drunk at the time.
Game of Thrones burst onto our screens when I was in my second year of university, and even though it took me two years to cotton on, when I did get to watching it was before I’d even met my wife, and it changed my life almost as much as she has.
Star Wars is trickier. In some ways, I don’t remember a time I didn’t love Star Wars. I guess it came into my field of vision at age five or six, but memory-wise it has always just kind of been there. This specific iteration, or trilogy, unveiled nearly four years ago and I honest-to-god nearly broke my wife’s hand in the cinema.
But as much as these delights of the nerdy hit me hard, it’s the professional basketball players that have smacked me sharpest. Dwyane Wade played sixteen years in the NBA, fourteen of them for the Miami Heat. He’s earned every accolade under the sun, and unarguably been one of the NBA’s biggest stars.
Yet (and this point needs much exclamation) I remember watching his rookie season. People I remember starting are now finishing. How did that come about? As for Dirk; I’ve never been part of an NBA which didn’t have Dirk playing for the Mavs. It’s been sixteen years, and I’m in uncharted waters.
The wave truly crested, the punch truly struck, last night at 2AM (Such is the joy of living in Britain) when Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 1 burst into life. It wasn’t a surprise, we all knew it was coming. But knowing and waiting are quite different to seeing, and leaving.
Just a glance at my Twitter tells me everyone else feels the same: we are losing something. For so many of us, it is something big, something huge. I doubt it is only myself who feels they are losing a bedrock of their life. Game of Thrones opened up such an amazing world, such experiences and such friendships to me. And that is all outside of how top quality it is in itself. It’s the final ‘Must-Watch’ show, the last weekly event. We will not see it’s kind again.
I felt that two seconds after the episode ended. For over a year I’ve known we’d have only six episodes to go. Yet after the episode finished I realised I’d just lost nearly twenty percent of my remaining thronesies.
I’m down to five. Just five left. As joyous as I was whilst watching, because it was a glorious episode, that gutpunch hits hard. Five left.
It will be the same, maybe even sharper, after Endgame or Episode IX. When October comes and the NBA begins, I’m going to wonder where Dirk and Dwyane are.
There is more to come. The screen has not dimmed entirely. The MCU will go on in some form. Star Wars has more movies and shows still to come. The NBA has four hundred other players still playing. And we have Winds and a prequel series to look forward to as ASOIAF fans.
But they aren’t quite the same. They (other than the NBA) aren’t quite mine yet. I don’t trust them, I don’t know them. They aren’t a part of me.
There’s probably some not-too-positive comments to be made about a man who’s measuring his age by pop culture. I could also look to those silver hairs popping up on my brow, or how my fingers don’t quite get over the rim of a basketball hoop anymore. Don’t worry, that makes me feel old too. But this…all this…all these years of watching Dirk and Tyrion and Cap and Rey and Chewie and Hulk and Daenerys and Dwyane and loving every single moment of it and now you expect me to lose it all at once, sweet lord?
I say no, how dare you do this to me? How dare you take all these wonderful shows and movies and people? You couldn’t wait? Put Endgame in 2020 or gimme another season of Thronesies?
What did I ever do to you? Do I come and take away your scythe and cowl at the same time? No, because I am considerate of other people!
I’m sorry. It is an emotional time. I had to watch Samwell Tarly try not to cry. It’s a bit messy. I know, I should not anger. I should be thankful I was born into a time where I could experience all of these amazing things at the same time. I should be telling you how bloody well spoilt I am to see all of these wonderful stories play out as they have.
I know people will complain. Maybe they do it to mask the pain of that punch, maybe they do it because they are stupid (my vote), but I will stand by you, Lord, and not let it bother me.
I’ve got too much watching to do, and too much smiling to prepare for.
But that punch is still pretty sharp, so be careful with us, and maybe spread out those knuckles next time