A Death in the Family – Joel Lane, 1963-2013

The internet can be cruel. You open your laptop or iPad and log into Facebook and it’s the usual slew of game requests, dog photos and paragraphs of poignant observation posted because, well, it’s just so true, ain’t it? and I never would’ve thought if you hadn’t said. And then there’s a picture of this guy you like and admire, his cheeky face looking out from the screen and you smile inside. He has a particular way of perceiving the world, and although awkward and shy he writes this stuff that highlights the grit of life and the vomit on the pavement and can remind you of that sick feeling you got when that thing with that girl or boy just didn’t quite go the way you’d hoped. And then you read that he’s dead. Share if you agree. Please like my page. Here’s a photo of my dinner. And a slap in the face.

You saw him not long ago. Emailed last week. Yet as you scroll down post after post confirms this news, each doubling the blow. Universally liked, he wasn’t much older than you, shared your taste in music, was one of those people with whom you could connect. Had a dry sense of humour that could slip unnoticed between the lines of everyday conversation if you weren’t paying attention.

You’ve always believed in karma. What goes round comes round, you reap what you sow. All that. But when celebrities lead lives of riches and fame and take what they want when they want it regardless of the effects on those they abuse, then die without repercussion, and this guy you knew who was kind and gentle is snatched away with no just cause – where’s your karma then?

Do you want to meet single women over 40 in your area? Good deals on solar panels! Your friend is dead. Dislike. Thumbs down. No.

Recommended reading
The Earth Wire, and Other Stories
From Blue to Black
The Lost District
Where Furnaces Burn

I’m a writer, editor, and Royal Literary Fund Fellow.
Find out more, tweet me, or email.

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