Even as news of Davy Jones’ death was breaking on Wednesday, an outpouring of emotion was being documented with all sorts of overstatement via social media.
J.J., aka @jjsr4627, wrote on Twitter: “Both R.I.P Davy Jones and Daydream Believer are trending worldwide on twitter. Davy meant so much to everyone, such a huge loss. #ripdavy”
Really? I have no doubt that his family and friends are truly grief stricken and legitimately feeling a huge loss. But did he mean that much to everyone?
I mean no disrespect in asking that question. After all, I can freely admit to a prolonged phase of Monkee mania when I was in elementary school. And despite the Tiger Beat magazines that littered my preteen bedroom, I cannot say that I have thought about Davy Jones, “the cute one” or “the talented one” or “the English one,” in the last few years … make that the last few decades. I never went to a Monkees reunion concert. Heck, I never even saw the movie “Shrek,” which brought back the Mickey Dolenz hit “I’m a Believer” (which for the record is not “Daydream Believer,” Jones sang lead on).
Although my only relationship with Davy Jones was watching him on TV or listening to him sing on records (yep, the vinyl ones), his death does resonate with me. Most likely because it has me saying the same words my father often said when he saw the stars of his younger years on television: “How old is he now?” “Wow, he has really aged!”
When my father said those words about celebrities like Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin or Sammy Davis Jr., I was always mildly annoyed and would think, “Doesn’t Dad know that he has aged just as much as they have?” But lately, when I have said those same things about 75-year-old Glen Campbell (who has Alzheimer’s disease) appearing on the Grammy Awards or 63-year-old Billy Crystal hosting the Academy Awards or 66-year-old Davy Jones winding up in the obituaries, I have cut myself much more slack than I did Dad or even the celebrities.
Maybe that’s part of being a member of the generation that embraced the saying, “Never trust anyone over 30.” Many of us went into denial about aging right around the time we hit age 31, and now that we’re closing in on 30 times 2 we’ve amped up the denial, some with the help of a smorgasbord of cosmetic procedures. When icons of our youth die — like John Lennon or Michael Jackson — it always hits hard. But it becomes more personal when death comes at the hand of the infirmities of aging instead of violence or drug abuse. Davy Jones’ fame and talent may not be something for the ages, but his death stirs the emotions of the aging because it speaks directly to our own mortality.
That may also explain why 90-year-old Betty White — the only surviving regular cast member of The Golden Girls — is enjoying her current popularity. She appears to defy the reality of clock and calendar. Who doesn’t find that appealing?