author C.C.Cole's blog

Sunday, September 2, 2012

On Knocking the Chip Off My Shoulder

Princess Diana

Back in the 1990s, I was in the latter days of what I’ve referred to in past articles as my “vast hard science educational background.”  The 90s pulled every bit of strength I had every day, with difficult training, the loss of my sister, my family split apart, my husband in graduate school while working, financial difficulties, and I worked a demanding job while in school that encompassed nights and entire weekends.   In general, the 1990s were a lost decade for me. 

While working on a weekend, I tried to get an hour or two of sleep and just before I turned the television off, the news alert said, “Princess Diana had been severely injured in a automobile accident.”  I switched it off, struggling to get a bit of rest before the next day started with an unforgiving amount of workload and testing.  Failure was not in my rulebook when it came to my education and job.

I didn’t sleep well, but never did in those days.  I thought about Diana. During my one trip overseas to England was when she gave birth to Prince William, and did she look great the next day, after a night of labor!  She was always in the tabloids, with her failed marriage, her stunning dresses, I mean, how many crowns did she have?  She always looked so perfect.  Sometimes I’d see news clips or magazine covers of her visiting the poor or abused.  She seemed nice.  I thought if I met her, I would have liked her. 

Then my mind took a dark turn.  Would she have liked me?  Hmm…An American wearing the same clothes for three days.  Aristocracy isn’t a concept easy for Americans to take in, though it’s generally respected.  In America, many have to work hard to crash through the glass of poverty, and at that time, I was building my hammer.  Then I thought, the truth is, Diana is a Princess, and I am a nobody.  To her, I’m a nobody and my recently deceased sister is a nobody.  But she’s been in a car accident.  Who’s in the worst position?  I thought, “Nothing will happen to her.  She’s rich and the whole world will bend over backwards to help her.”  I fell asleep.

Morning came, and the person coming on to take my place exchanged the usual hellos.  Before I picked up my bag to leave she said, “And Princess Diana died.”  A cold chill swept through me.  What a fool I was!  A shallow, stupid idiot, low class, imbecile taking for granted that money shelters people from something as common and deadly as automobile accidents.  As a worker in the health care industry, I know all too well how many lives are claimed.  Angry with myself, I watched all of the televised features about Princess Diana, and my favorite was Elizabeth Taylor’s interview when she said, “They killed the world’s Princess.” 

On August 31, 1997, we did lose the world’s Princess.  She was classy, beautiful, compassionate, and yes, wealthy.  And after that day I grew up and knocked the class chip off my shoulder.  Everyone is a person, and life is fragile.  Bless the Princess.


  1. Lovely words. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. True, money can buy you lots of things, but while it may help one survive serious illness, at least for a little longer, it can never replace life. She was the people's princess and will always be. All people everywhere should value life, it's the one thing that inevitably ends, no matter how rich or poor you are. And where is money when life ends so abruptly? Real currency is compassion, love, hope, the will to live, and the will to survive.

  2. I loved Princess Diana. I could see how far she had come just to help us get back on track. Yet, she lived such a lonely, lonely life. In fact, it was fitting that Elton John attributed his Marilyn song to her: Two pieces of cloths from the same soul.

    She never fulfilled her destiny. Her life was cut short before she could bring about the transformation so many people feared. That's when I knew we were in for rough times ahead of us.