Saturday, May 14


Am I the only one in the land who has grown weary of the ubiquitous, careworn, unctuously scripted use of the word "closure" to suggest that an event or final judgement (or mundane epiphany) of some kind can effect a solid line of demarcation between grief and happiness -- a veritable Great Wall between mourning and the resumption of life in earnest? Can there ever truly be "closure" from the all-too-human affects of the antecedents of sadness, grief, regret, disappointment, scandal, and personal setback? And, even were it possible, would we want such chapters in our lives to close shut like the thick steel door of a bank vault and be hermetically sealed from us forever more? Wouldn't that become more a form of immature denial than a hurdle cleared and left behind?

But, alas, it is not possible, even if we desire it. Oh, to be sure, a life upended can be restored to some form of equilibrium; but it can never be entirely devoid of tears or the conciousness -- the keen awareness -- of the human condition. For into each life some rain must fall and if there's any certainty in life it is that the rain will come again. And feelings, even those that are grippingly heart-wrenching and rent our souls asunder, inform our awareness, elevate us above the animals, and define us as human. I think, therefore I am; I feel, therefore I'm real.

So why must I read it ("closure") in newspapers all the time and hear it ("closure") incessantly on T.V.? I find it so infinitely annoying and disingenuous, as if "closure" cue cards are widely distributed to victims, real and perceived, and their "spokesmen" (a burgeoning industry) across the land for use in front of news cameras, banks of microphones, and on "Oprah" and "Larry King Live." And have you noticed the word is almost always insinuated into a sentence for dramatic effect? Oftentimes a pause follows its use and eyes move left and eyes move right to gauge its impact.

There are road closures; there are military base closures; there are business closures. But tell me how it is when the search team finds the child's body buried in the woods that there is "closure" for the grieving parents? Tell me why it is that when the lethal injection takes the life of the mad dog murderer that the family of the victim of the grizzly crime invariably declares "closure?" Or, conversely, tell me how it is that the accused, vindicated by a jury of his peers of a horrific crime that has played in the press for months, can declare on the courthouse steps that a "not guilty" verdict has finally brought "closure," as if the scars of the scandal magically dissolved with the jury foreman's declaration?

I just don't get it. The word has come into vogue and it just refuses to go away. It's been thoroughly abused, just like the victims of abuse who inevitably find occasion to use it.

When will there be closure for "closure?" Anybody got a clue?