A comedian and podcast host I thoroughly enjoy, Adam Carolla, does a bit on his show called “What Can’t Adam Complain About.”
Much of Adam’s comedic shtick is complaining about things. So during the bit, which is typically performed at his live shows, audience members are challenged to pitch topics that would be tough for him to complain about.
But no matter what happy, joyful topic his fans propose, Adam always finds a negative. A sunny day on the beach? Adam would say you risk skin cancer and will have sand in your shoes. A traditional holiday meal with family? Adam would remind you that someone’s bound to drink too much and start an argument.
I thought about the bit the other day after Oak Lawn resident Jenni Simpson shared with me Facebook posts in response to her decision to leave a bouquet of roses near the site of last week’s tragic 11-car accident.
Simpson’s attached the roses to a street light near 95th Street and Cicero Avenue on Monday morning. They served as the sole reminder of the horrific accident that took three lives on Sunday afternoon.
Tough to complain about that thoughtful deed.
I chatted with Simpson shortly after seeing a picture of the flowers on Facebook. She told me the accident left her numb. It was a terrible tragedy, she said, reflecting on the fate of the two nuns who perished when a pickup truck smashed into their car as they waited at a red light on eastbound 95th Street.
The sisters were powerless to do a thing. Yet, a third nun in the car survived. Why? Simpson seemed to be wresting with so many thoughts. She decided that honoring the deceased with a simple bouquet of flowers was the right thing to do.
Indeed. I doubt even Adam Carolla would disagree.
But a small number of Facebook trolls were up to the challenge.
Simpson took a fair share of shots on a community Facebook page. She was ripped for injecting herself into the story. She took grief for bringing her 7-year-old son with her to accident site. In fact, the criticism turned to the kind of name calling you’d expect to hear on an elementary school playground.
It’s incomprehensible to me. Makeshift memorials are commonplace today. They serve as coping mechanisms and a way to honor the deceased.
The day after Simpson brought her roses to the scene, a small memorial was up, including two wooden crosses and a heart bearing the names of the three who died in the crash.
The crosses were put there by Greg Zanis, of Aurora, who runs an organization called Crosses for Losses. He’s placed more than 11,000 wooden crosses across the country since his father-in-law was murdered in 1997. It helps him cope with his personal tragedy. He hopes the crosses do the same for others.
In a small way, that’s what Simpson was doing with her single bouquet of flowers. She took a few moments out of her day to remind the folks driving on 95th Street that something horrible happened one day earlier. Lives were lost and so many other lives will forever be affected.
But a few people had issues with Simpson and let her have it behind the safety of the Facebook wall. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. So too should the folks who posted a bevy of inappropriate comments on Facebook the night of the accident.
I have no idea whether they didn’t like the bouquet of flowers or if they have some other axe to grind with Simpson. Doesn’t matter. It was not the time or the place. When did it become OK to lay into a person for handling their grief and expressing their condolences in their own way?
As far as Simpson bringing her 7-year-old son to the site, that’s her call as a parent. She didn’t bring him to the horrific crash. Rather, she taught him a valuable lesson the following day about honor and doing the right thing.
It’s a lesson some other folks on Facebook certainly could use.