Corey Haim bit it, and all you get is this lousy mini-mixtape

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When the email prompt blipped up on my workstation screen, my hand flew to my mouth.

"Dude, Corey Haim? Corey Haim is dead," I gasped.

"No way," my fellow technical writer said.

And so followed the usual postmortem ritual where the unexpected demise of a culturally significant personage of yesteryear sends children of the '80s reeling back down memory lane, reliving and comparing notes. It's probably telling that we went on about Haim's body of work for several minutes before we realized that somehow the guy were were thinking and talking about was actually Corey Feldman, Haim's cinematic partner-in-crime; the Coreys starred together in so many Reagan-era flicks that it's hard to think of them as separate entities, and because in recent years Feldman has been a more visible media presence (if not always for the most admirable of reasons) and, without Haim at his side, made more movies people remember and swear by (namely, The Goonies and Stand By Me), it's not necessarily weird that my co-worker and I shared a collective brainfart.

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Plus, we're in our 30s; the ol' nuerons don't fire quite the way they once did.

Anyway, Corey Haim. Dead. At 38. Probably from complications related to drug abuse. Yeah, I was surprised, mostly because Corey Haim doesn't enter my thoughts much and I never really guessed he ever would again, but come to think of it, I knew -- from articles published right around when The Two Coreys was about to debut -- that Haim was washed-up, strung out, and living with his mom, like tons of other thirtysomethings whose best years were long behind them. (It took his death for me to learn that Haim appeared in Crank: High Voltage, a dubious honor if there ever was one.)

When I think of Corey Haim, I think of garish teen magazine-trading girls in my fifth grade class and how cool the poster for The Lost Boys was; I think of flippant, pretty-boy cool and insincere "waaaaaaaoh" expressions. (Joey Lawrence was like the Corey Haim of the 1990s; you read it here first.) That decidedly subjective perception isn't necessarily representative of who Haim was in his heyday and who he might have been as a person when he passed away, but I get the feeling he would appreciate this eminently inappropriate farewell mixtape.

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Puff Daddy & The Family "I'll Be Missing You"

Nothing says "you're my brother from another mother who's spirit will always be with me" like sampling a huge pop hit for your first solo single and hamming it up in designer shades -- to hide all the tears, of course. Try watching the video for this thing now; I dare you. It's just so overwrought and smarmy and painful, but not in the intended way -- kinda like Feldman rushing out public statements as soon as the news of Haim's demise hit the wires, before the body was even cold, before he could even mourn. Grief brings out the opportunist in some, I suppose.

Elton John "Candle in the Wind"

I think if a bunch of middle-aged soccer moms crowded Haim's gravesite blasting this song on an AWIA boombox, he'd crack up laughing up in Heaven, just, you know, the solemnity and po'faced seriousness of the song, weeping-willow mourners ascribing Princess Di-level grand piano importance to a life of wasted potential. Totally wasted, if you get my meaning, which is fitting, since Sir Elton lost more than a few weekends himself in his prime.

BoyzIIMen "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye"

If you've been a member of an acapella group anytime in the past two decades or so, you've probably had to hear or sing this song more than a few times, with the requisite level of pained intensity and honesty. "Goodbye" inspires contagious dramatics. People get so stupid when they sing it; they turn actorly, clenching fists and gritting teeth and trying to cry, on some I'm-Mariah-Carey-and-my-hands-just-naturally-flutter-when-I-sing-bullshit. I've seen maybe two or three Corey Haim movies, and I have to give him props: he never even tried to act. He was just like, "Hey, I'm Corey Haim, and my hair stylist is fucking clinic, and I've got an earring, and Feldman and some other dude are following me around in a comic-book store."

Eddie Murphy feat. Rick James "Party All The Time"
Marilyn Manson "I Don't Like The Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)"
The Frogs "I've Got Drugs (Out of the Mist)"

Well, yeah. Hey, California, you know? Viper Room, Courtney Love, feel me? And he was an entertainer, and the cops did find prescription pills at his crib, right? I'd go on, but there's not much else to be said about celebrities and their doctors and their fatal overdoses and the long, drawn out wait for autopsy results and toxicology reports and...yeah. Anyway, Corey Feldman's probably starting to wonder which pal of his is gonna die next.

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