By Maryam Henein, HoneyColony Original

I was perusing Facebook’s newsfeed when I came across a picture of a tall and menacing picture of Tony Soprano. I smiled and then I spotted the words “dies, at 51.” My heart sank. I did a double take, hoping my brain had miscomputed the information. I loved watching James Gandolfini. His timing and delivery were stellar; his acting chops indisputable.

The following day, I started watching The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, not knowing James Gandolfini was in it. My heart sank again. What an avoidable tragedy.

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Truth be told, I had a crush on Tony Soprano even though he was a sociopath and overweight. I was amazed at how this Jersey-born actor brought Tony to life. David Chase created a series with aplomb. The writing was exquisite; the character development was multi-dimensional. And then there was Tony: capable of having Adriana whacked without a stir. Who was this guy? How could someone play a role so well?

Interestingly it was his belly that added to Gandolfini’s persona. But many a time I secretly wished he would lay off the pastrami and pasta and whatever else he was actually eating in real life. He wouldn’t be as sexy without the belly but perhaps he would have lived longer.

Still now, I am in disbelief that James is gone. I think of his son who was with him in Rome and his eight-month-old daughter. I send you love on your path.

In a state of angst I tweeted, “R.I.P #JamesGandolfini. I wish you’d eaten less #redmeat and #juiced more. I will miss you.”

A few hours later a @sparrowmorgan responded:

“@MaryamHenein That’s pretty insensitive. Many people are genetically vulnerable to heart problems. It could’ve been caused by near anything.”

I didn’t mean to be insensitive. I know that skinny people die untimely deaths too. And that vegans pass out. And that Karma may have a plan for each of us. I know diet has an impact on our health, and in truth, I just wished James Gandolfini had taken better care of his.

A piece by Dr. Oz takes this sentiment one step further:

“If even tough guys like Tony Soprano need to get checked out, the rest of us do too — whether we think we’re in good shape or not, and whether we’ve ever had chest pains or not, since plenty of people are pain-free until the very moment their heart gives in. Some have argued that Gandolfini’s past substance abuse contributed to his premature death. Perhaps it did. But we shouldn’t ignore the more obvious risk factor: at just over 6 ft. (1.8 m) tall and around 272 lb. (123 kg), he was an outsize personality in a dangerously outsize body. In a country that is simultaneously obsessed with bodily perfection, even as two-thirds of us are overweight or obese, weight has become an exceedingly fraught topic, and in the first hours after Gandolfini’s death, some commentators sought to sidestep the topic, wondering how a vigorous man with no known health complaints could have suddenly succumbed. But if we saw an anorexic teenager we wouldn’t pretend she wasn’t heading for serious health trouble, so why should we be so coy at the other end of the weight spectrum?”

You can read the rest of the article by Dr. Oz here.

 

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