Rest in Peace, Patrick Swayze

The late Patrick Swayze, who passed away last night at the age of 57, was a presence in my life before I was even aware of who he was. Several members of my Cub Scout Den were obsessed with Red Dawn and were always talking about Wolverines this and Wolverines that, as if sheltered little me would have any idea what they were talking about. I even think that the comic book I wrote and drew with a kid on the bus in elementary school was called The Wolverines. But me, I had no idea what was going on. I was just trying to fit in and played along as if I knew what the hell a Wolverine was—I think I thought it had something to do with the Marvel comic book character—or who the guys in the movie were.

Swayze really entered my life through Dirty Dancing, which was a favorite of my mom’s. In fact, I remember it being played in our house so regularly, and I remember stopping to sit on the couch and watch it myself more than once that a scene featuring a boy and his mom watching the film made its way into my novel for a short time. I still love the movie, in fact. I think it’s one of the best music movies out there—its soundtrack is an 80s classic, in my opinion—and, straight white male that I am, I still feel like I am more liable to pop it on at a moment’s notice than my wife is.

So, it makes me sad to think that Swayze lost his battle with cancer yesterday, sadder than it probably should, but he’ll live on in my memory every time I or someone near me says “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”—which will probably be far too often—and every time I play my favorite song from that soundtrack, “She’s Like the Wind”.

Which will probably also be far too often.