Is it possible that Glenn Frey’s death provided a tough, needed lesson for other men?
A few years back, I had a weekend lunch with a longtime former co-worker who wanted me to meet her latest beau and prospective fiancée. The three of us were having a relaxing time until she said something about her boyfriend’s tender skin which tended to develop moles from the sun. This meant that he needed to have them looked at by a physician and undergo biopsies. She noted that he had a suspicious looking one on his neck.
The boyfriend was not pleased at having this pointed out. He replied that he was no longer going to see his doctor about the issue. “Maybe it will be better if I just ignore these things and die!” No one laughed and my friend decided to go to the women’s restroom. While she was gone I explained to the boyfriend that I had known her far longer than he did. Then I said to him, “I know she loves you. But I also know that if you allow yourself to get dreadfully sick because you would not see a doctor, she will never forgive you. Is that what you want?” His face turned red and he seemed quite angry at me. He began to say something in reply, but then abruptly stopped.
When my friend returned and sat down, the boyfriend quite unexpectedly said, “Honey, please remind me to call my doctor’s office on Monday and schedule an appointment for a check-up and to have these things on my skin examined.” She was extremely pleased to hear this and gave him a hug and a kiss.
I had the feeling that the boyfriend was seething with rage against me. But when the get-together ended, he walked up to me, shook my hand and then grabbed me for a meaningful hug. He whispered in my ear, “Thanks for the advice.” I realized at that moment that he actually wanted – and needed, someone to talk him into seeing his doctor. Deep down he knew it was the right thing to do.
It’s not that I always followed this advice myself. At one point in the past, my doctor discovered a condition that needed to be remedied. He told me that I needed a 50% improvement in this condition. Under his watch this took 13 months to accomplish. In thanking him I said, “I’ll be back to see you more often from now on!” Then years went by.
I thought of all this when I saw a rather interesting post by a Facebook friend. She wrote that her husband had been sick in bed for quite a while, but he was refusing to see his doctor. Nothing she said or did worked to change his mind, until… Until on a fateful Monday she told him, “Glenn Frey of the Eagles has died. You will be seeing a doctor immediately!” He did not argue with her. Instead he got up, walked to the phone and called his doctor’s office.
The woman in question posted this on social media because she wanted other wives and partners to read about her experience. In addition, she wanted men to take more responsibility for their own health, their own lives. She wanted men to accept that longevity is more than simply a vague concept.
I suspect that the sad, unexpected death of Frey had a similar impact in other homes and other places, on other women and other men. I thought long and hard about Frey’s death for two days. Three days after his passing, I found myself in my doctor’s office, where a new condition was discovered. Fortunately, it was a condition that is treatable and manageable with medication. But without the shock of experiencing the deaths of David Bowie and Glenn Frey in close proximity to each other, I – like many other males – might have resisted seeing a doctor due to the fear over what I might hear. The deaths of these talented artists made it quite clear that this is a very bad bet and an unwise course to follow. Better to be safe than sorry. (An undiagnosed condition might slowly simmer until it boils over, becoming a chronic or deadly one.)
I may have been just one of hundreds or thousands – or tens of thousands – of men who suddenly scheduled a medical appointment due to Frey’s untimely death. At least I hope this was the case. It will be a fitting memorial to a very talented musician whose life ended far too early.
Glenn Frey, you were always our favorite gunslinger. You wore that mostly white hat as you rode off into the sunset, while the scene faded to black. It was the final frame. (You once wrote, “On the day that I die, well I just might scream. If I’m alive in the morning, I’ll be alive in a dream.”)
Goodbye Glenn. Thank you so much for all of the music. And thank you for, I believe, saving and extending lives. What a valuable contribution to the world. What a legacy!