So where were you on the night of Sept. 14, when you first heard the news? Were you, like me, sitting at the kitchen table watching E! and building a church out of foam board for your pig bride-and-groom salt-and-pepper shakers? And when the news broke, did it also feel like the drywall had collapsed all around you?
As you Jeanketeers know, Patrick Swayze had been the hallowed hunk of my life since I was in deeley boppers (I still am!). I knew he was very sick, but was still holding out hope that his stellar good looks and effervescent glamour would flush the illness out of his body. Sadly, neither that nor his fans' most fervent prayers could save him.
I've never had someone this beloved to me die before. A human, that is. My kitty Arthur's passing was very hard. Also, when I was 10, I had a colony of Sea-Monkeys die on me, but that was more traumatic than grievous.
See, I figured they'd look just like the cute web-footed critters in the ads in my Sabrina comics, but when I found these nasty bugs darting around instead, I thought some evil parasite killed the Sea-Monkeys before they could hatch. So I poured the whole aquarium down the bathroom sink and followed up with a cup of bleach for good measure. Then I found out…well, I'm going on too much. I always do when something devastating happens.
I can't see anyone taking Patrick Swayze's place. Not even his hottielicious contemporaries, like Parker Stevenson, Mark Harmon, Gregory Harrison, Patrick Duffy, Lee Horsley, Dirk Benedict, and Jameson Parker. Wait, Jameson Parker? Yes. Even Jameson Parker. (I had to think about that one for a second.)
Despite my deep feelings for Patrick Swayze, I never knew him personally, though through the years I did send him occasional letters, Christmas cards, and packages of my homemade Choco-Caramel-Coconut-Raspberry Mint Brownies with Crushed Pretzel and Peppermint Topping. I never really knew where to send them, but, as world-famous as he was, I figured "Patrick Swayze, Hollywood, CA" sufficed as long as I provided the proper postage.
I never got a response, so I'll never truly know if Patrick Swayze appreciated my loving efforts. If only I had possessed a stalker's ambition, maybe I'd have met him. Forgive me, Patrick Swayze!
Hubby Rick has always bucked at my crush on Patrick Swayze, but even he grasped the magnitude of the situation somewhat. Seeing that I had been bawling my eyes out, Rick promised, out of respect for his memory, to stop calling him "Patrick Gayze" for the rest of the year. (True, there's less than four months left in 2009, but this is saying something for Rick.) And he said something I've never heard before—that when Patrick played a bouncer in Road House back in '89, he came close to being cool. "If he had kicked [tushie] more and didn't do all that dancin' ghost crap, he could've been as good as Van Damme," Rick said. But then he added, "What a waste," and that's why the Roger Ebert of Blossom Meadows Drive had to sleep on the couch that night! (Not that he wasn't intending to anyway.)
For years, my go-to daydream was to wear a long white gown and a big hat covered in flowers and float with Patrick Swayze down a lazy river in one of those swan-shaped paddleboats.
Since his death, I've tried imagining other things, like lying on a bear rug, being fed cheesecake by Timothy Dalton, or living in a marble Greek temple with Fabio, but nothing's been sticking—not even a champagne hot-air balloon ride with Kevin Sorbo. And I certainly can't go back to my other, formerly die-hard fantasy: taking a bubble bath with Richard Chamberlain as Father Ralph de Bricassart.
Therefore, would you all mind if I kept my little fantasy as is? Maybe some of you will find it bizarre to imagine romance with a dead guy, but in a way, it keeps him alive, doesn't it?
I guess I'm just not ready to say goodbye yet. In the meantime, I'll envision Patrick Swayze all happy in heaven, maybe doing the moonwalk with Michael Jackson, or comparing hair-feathering capabilities with Farrah Fawcett, or practicing tai chi with David Carradine prior to skiing down some clouds with Natasha Richardson, then stopping by Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty's condo-cloud to get some acting pointers from Karl Malden and discuss current affairs with Walter Cronkite, but not before agreeing to buy 10 cases of OxiClean from Billy Mays. Or maybe one night he will pay me a ghostly visit, as I'm working my potter's wheel. Well, I don't own a potter's wheel, so maybe one night when I'm working my old Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper. (Much more my speed.)