I was on the Space Mountain ride, on my one and only trip to Disney World, when my brother left the message on my cell phone. It was December 28, 2004. It took me a few minutes to find my legs, adjust to the bright light outside, and notice that I had a voicemail. I dialed in. The news was grim. “I’m so sorry to be the one to tell you this,” my brother said, “but Jerry Orbach is dead.”
Today, I feel the same gut punch. My octogenarian-style television viewing habits shall forever be altered. Yes, there are reruns ’round the clock, but the cancellation somehow puts a damper on the viewing experience; “Law & Order” is no longer an infinite resource.
And so, with apologies to Auden...
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message L&O Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the wizened neck of Adam Schiff,
Let the hairspray melt from Briscoe’s quiff.
It was my North, my South, my East and West,
My DVR mainstay and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that L&O would last forever: I was wrong.
Waterston is not wanted now: let him do summer stock;
Tear down the shooting permits on ev’ry block;
Dismantle the squad room and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.