I get obsessed about stuff really easily. It’s gotten a little better as I’ve gotten older but as a teenager it was serious. It started with Pern, and I spent a long time reading the series and thinking about the series and writing fanfiction and drawing bad pictures. And then it was actors and musicians and finally whole cultures.
Each time I found one of those, it helped to shape me into the me I am right now.
There were two of those that have been really bittersweet.
At the end of the 90s there was a TV show that had approximately 12 episodes, only 8 of which aired in the US. It was about Roman-era Ireland and starred a young Australian actor by the name of Heath Ledger. Now, while I had crushes on several actual local boys at the time, the crush I had on Mr. Ledger was fairly all-consuming. At the time, nobody had any idea who he was, so I was alone in this until much later when Ten Things I Hate About You came out, at which point I was rather resentful that people were excited about somebody I’d known about for a while, and so that effectively killed that obsession.
Nonetheless, it was a horrible shock to hear about Heath Ledger’s death. It was the first time that one of my childhood idols had passed away, and I felt as though a little piece of me had gone with him. Or a piece of my youth. Or something.
After that was a lot of Highlander (I won’t go into that again), and then I discovered heavy metal music.
My parents were not excited, but there it was. And at the heart of this new obsession was a very tall, dark man with a very deep voice, and his name was Peter Steele.
I think I was more in love with this person I’d never met than I’d ever been with anyone else (and this continued until I met my husband, who was the end of that obsession). I had his picture all over my bedroom and stuck on my notebooks. It was like he was some weird giant Beatle. To this day, a character in some of my own personal creative writing still bears the name Peter, having grown out of adolescent indulgent fiction-writing.
Oh, man. I had it bad.
You know that little piece of me I said died when Heath Ledger did?
Another similar piece died this morning when I learned that Peter Steele passed away.
RIP, Mr. Steele. You helped make my young adulthood an interesting one, indeed.
(And in my nerd brain, he’s off somewhere having a crazy awesome sword battle with Duncan McLeod, because obviously this is just a front for the secret of his Immortality.)
In conclusion, Dear Mr. Adrian Paul, please live to be one hundred years old. Or older. I don’t think I can take another one of these.