Posted by Miserable Retail Slave on May 28, 2010 at 7:59 PM
by Paulie Walnuts
Gary Coleman (February 8, 1968 – May 28, 2010)
I remember when I was a little kid and the catch-phrase, “whatcha talkin’ ‘bout Willis” was all the rage. In all truth, it’s pretty timeless, and probably one of the most quoted phrases in television history. Gary Coleman was about 17 by the time I was old enough to watch “Diff’rent Strokes,” but he still looked like a little kid. When I was a little older, I found out about his condition, and I learned to admire him.
I was outraged when “Webster” came out. I’d already learned how to be a short person from Coleman.
In all seriousness, Coleman lived a tough life, and he died young. He was bogged down by personal and legal issues throughout most of his adulthood. Worse yet, he was burdened by numerous health issues, and lived on dialysis for a long time. He attempted suicide. But through it all, he was recognized as a gifted comedian, and it’s hard to find a photo to suggest otherwise – he always seemed to be smiling in spite of his troubles.
Forty-two is too young to die, no matter who you are (excepting murderers and rapists). Coleman touched lives when he played Arnold Jackson. He was recognized as someone who broke through despite physical adversity – whether that adversity be of his race or his condition. Black and white kids alike admired him. When jokes about his size began to surface, he shrugged them off, and even played along. Perhaps this is the greatest legacy he leaves us – to remind us to laugh at ourselves; to remind us not to take things too seriously; to remind us to smile when all we want to do is cry.
We’ll miss you, “Arnold.”