But I know the way people talked (and still talk) about his late wife. Her name could be, and probably is, the punch line on many a joke. His children are hers. They have had to deal with this all of their lives. And they are very nice people. When I met his son I immediately dreamed of him sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table at my home - I coveted him as my son-in-law. He is so handsome, and so nice, and such a gentleman. If I could somehow get a son-in-law without one of my daughters cooperating, he would be mine now. But I digress...
I began to realize how much it hurt him that his beloved late wife was still comedian fodder. Even in death. He could do nothing to control that. But, holy cow, he sure doesn't like to hear people in AA discussing celebrities falling from grace, and he will be more than happy to let anyone have an earful about that.
We do that, you know. Last winter I attended a meeting where the topic (I am not making this up) was "Is Tiger Woods really a sex addict?" I wrote about it then. I was horrified. Unfortunately, only 2 or 3 of us thought that was an inappropriate topic for a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.
That was an insanely inappropriate thing to discuss in an AA meeting.
But I think even more importantly, we need to think before we talk about others. ANY others. I do not have the right to tell you what I think of Lindsey Lohan or David Hasselhoff or any others who have had public flame-outs. I don't care if they never hear what I said about them. It is hurtful and I do not need to do it.
Every alcoholic should have a chance to get sober, whether it is a nameless, faceless panhandler on the corner, or someone who is a household name. We should not make it more difficult for any of them. It is difficult enough.
There are wonderful AA members who also happen to be famous people. I have been in meetings where they humbly act like everyone else. But they need our cooperation in order to do that. To deny them that opportunity may be to deny them their very lives.