I’ve been sad all day thinking of Adam Yauch’s passing, which is somewhat abnormal for me since I typically just have the brief shock one feels upon hearing about a death. I didn’t know the guy, and never really closely followed his charities and whatnot. I knew he had cancer but to be honest I had thought he’d beaten it. And why wouldn’t he, he’s amazing, right? So like most Americans in my generation, I started a rotation of songs immediately upon hearing about it, because that’s what one does. And as I was driving today it hit me right about the instant Lando barked back to the opening of Sure Shot that for over 15 years now, thinking of the Beasties has been directly correlated to remembering my group of friends in college who were themselves a version of Beastie Boys (replete with Halloween Intergalactic costuming [I’d pay obscene amounts of money for the pictures that were lost on my hard drive]). Like a date stamp on the albums, I can instantly recall hundreds of memories involving the progression of time from dorm to off-campus housing to marriages and kids. Ryan in particular is closely correlated in my mind, obviously, because he was integral to that group and his date stamp cut off suddenly and unforgivably.
But my lingering sadness is not just for lives cut short, it’s from realizing I’ve always been oddly comforted when escaping into the music of a group that epitomized invincibility, because until Ryan wasn’t invincible, he was, and there’s safety in that being remembered like that. But now even they are proving fallible, and that scares me a little.
Because that makes my nostalgia that much sharper-edged, and that makes me sad.