John Belushi - 25 Years



O.k. so I’m a day late but March 5th was the 25th anniversary of John Belushi’s death. For a freshman in college it had the same impact on me as did the celebrity deaths of John Lennon, Kurt Cobain or Kirby Puckett. At the time of his death, Belushi hadn’t been on Saturday Night Live for a couple of years but he was still a huge movie star and an idol to shiftless proto-adult boys everywhere. Even though you knew he took lots of drugs -- and there were plenty of rock stars who died via drugs way too early -- there was still the feeling that guys like John Belushi weren’t suppose to die. It really cut my 19-year old soul to the core.

The day he died happened to be a Friday and I remember that my friend Tim and I ended up drinking a lot of alcohol (and more) after we learned of his death. We then went “looking for John Belushi? in Cedar Rapids, IA. We’d ask everyone we came across if they had seen him. At the time we were just drunken college kids but looking back it is clear that our “search? was also a way to act out our denial of what happened to one of our idols. It was one of those touchstones you must come across to remind you that yes, you too are mortal.

Alas we didn’t find John Belushi that night but I think that’s the night Tim and Pat got in a big fight on the quad. (Tim, fill in the blanks in the comments section). Boys being boys, forcibly being pushed along toward adulthood and the men we now are. It seems strange that it’s been 25 years -- John Belushi has been dead for longer than I was alive when he died. On the surface one would think that his life and death has no direct bearing on my own life, but somehow I think his death did. It was one of those beacons you have to pass in order to grow up and to live your own life, not like some movie or TV star but on your own terms.


okay, so i did a lot of stupid things in my drunken college days (e.g., sending an entire package of bottle rockets blazing into a crowded dorm room). tossing back a few too many in honor of a comic genius like Belushi, was the least i could do on that sad, spring evening 25 years ago. was the rage i showed to my friend, pat, simply displaced anger about coming to grips with mortality? or, was it simply my resistance to letting go of my reckless teenage ways and embracing the responsibilites that come with growing up? naw, it was just the beer!

Hey Tim, if it was just the beer, I'd have a very boring post. It would go something like this: 25 years ago when I was a freshman in college me and my friends got hammered one Friday night and then two of them got into a fight.

See boring, you have to elicit meaning in order to be interesting. :o)

well alonzo, the revised version may play better to the short attention span of the MTV generation. they don't appreciate some geezer's literary wanking about a dead comedian that they barely know, except from the time their parents made them watch that lame "Animal House" movie.

And to think he was only 33 when he died. I can't even remember 33 anymore.

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This page contains a single entry by Freealonzo published on March 6, 2007 1:55 PM.

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