George Will called death by overdose “a disease of despair.” He pointed out a year ago that there were more deaths by overdose in that single year than in 10 years of fatalities in the Vietnam War.
But is every overdose a “death from despair”?
After reading a subtle and captivating piece of prose-poetry in the July 12th New Yorker by Anthony Veasna So, I was shocked to read that the young author was dead.
He was off to a brilliant start as a writer. In his mid-twenties, he had just died of a cocaine overdose.
Reports left the addiction a mystery.
He was upbeat, humorous, exempt from any recent tragedy or “trigger” that might have precipitated despair. He was not “down and out” or wrestling with dark news.
The addiction and overdose are massively unexpected and inexplicable.
They belong in the category of death from a hammer falling from a scaffold to strike a sidewalk pedestrian.
Perhaps someone can explain !?!
How can a youth with stupendous talent — and not a wisp of despair — become addicted and wipe out his promising life?
To those privileged to encounter his early accomplishments, it’s an incalculable loss.