Two titans of influence in my world passed away this week, and if left me wondering and perhaps even concluding that this is part of that never defined nightmare we call adulthood. Last Saturday, Antonin Scalia, the longest serving member of the Supreme Court, passed away on a West Texas ranch at the age of seventy-nine. Less than a week later, Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, the book not the movie, (no offense Gregory Peck, you killed it as Atticus) passed away at the age of eighty-nine quietly in her home, probably surrounded by her closest friends and I hope a throng of weeping fans begging the Good Lord to take anybody else but her. Had I known she was in the on deck circle, I would have offered to pinch hit because the world is not prepared to be without these two people.
Both of these individuals represent a generous portion of the abrasive, sometimes narcissistic, always opinionated train wreck called Brian Bisgard. Scalia’s brilliant, principled, scathing dissents influenced my belief in an inerrant Constitution, and Harper’s literary prowess inspired not only my college major but also this pitiful attempt at a tribute. Call it hanger, hormones, or a hangover, but Harper’s passing hit me like a ton of bricks. I think ultimately what upset me the most was the selfish notion that I wouldn’t have her lens to look through any more. I can re-read Atticus’ timeless wisdom, but I don’t have Harper’s vision guiding me through the ever increasing turbulence of the world. To make matters worse, I also have to navigate the most divisive election year I’ve ever experienced, (spoiler alert, I’ve experienced four) without arguably the most eloquent political mind of the twentieth century.
Which brings me to the entire question of this pitifully rambling post, is this adulthood? Does being an adult mean the constant crashing and rebuilding of one’s sources of identity? Does being an adult mean that with each passing year you are forced to think more and more for yourself, that your sphere of influence slowly shrinks until one day you look around and there’s nothing but a sun faded volleyball staring back at you for consensus or dissension. If so, count me out, because I’m still hoping to get invited to a pick up game with Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez. If being an adult means watching all your influences and heroes fade into humanity then y’all can find me at the local library surrounded by Hemingway, Lee, and Penick.