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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
30 Rock


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Monday, August 30, 2004

I Could Hardly Believe It When I Heard The News Today

Laura Branigan, pop star of the eighties, has died at age 47. Apparently she died in her sleep of a brain aneurysm. Immediately I was struck by this information. Sure it has been years since any of us have heard hits from Laura like "Gloria", "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You," "Solitaire" and "Self-Control". In fact, many teenagers today might not even know who she is. But for me, the connection was different.

I was about five or six years old when Laura Branigan first became popular. I had no choice in NOT knowing who she was though considering we shared the same last name, only a different spelling.

This however didn't stop teachers, friends and strangers from constantly asking me if I was related to her. Sometimes I got the generic, "Are you guys related?" other times I got, "Is she your sister?" and even OTHER times I got, "Is she your mom?" I guess she was closest to being my mom, unless I was a change of life baby. Still something tells me that if I was in kindergarten and my mom had a hit song on the radio, everyone would know about it, since kindergartners, share EVERYTHING...some of it even being important.

There's also the fact that she spelled it B-R-A-N-I-G-A-N. and I spell it B-R-A-N-A-G-A-N. Over the years I've come to realize though that people hardly ever spell my last name right. It sounds like there should be an "i" in there someplace, and so they put it in anyhow. I've gotten some creative spellings over the years too, like the, "and suddenly I'm Jewish", Branigman.

Innovative spellings aside, since my name kinda became synonymous with Laura's, I always thought of her has a sort of distant relative. You know, the cool one you never see or who sends you an autographed picture every once and awhile.

So for some of you, the news of Laura Branigan dying might sting a bit or cause you to take a brief pause. But for me, the hurt cuts a little deeper for the famous "mother", "sister" or even "cousin twice removed", I very nearly almost had.



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