This content is part of a series.
The Metaphor of Family (18 of 26)
INTRODUCTION: EVETTE VICKERS, A FORMER model and B-movie star, best known for her role in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, would have been 83 last August, but nobody knows exactly how old she was when she died. According to the Los Angeles coroner's report, she lay dead for the better part of a year before a neighbor named Susan Savage, noticed cobwebs and yellowing letters in her mailbox, reached through a broken window to unlock the door, and pushed her way through the piles of junk mail and mounds of clothing that barricaded the house. Upstairs, she found Vickers's body, mummified, near a heater that was still running. Her computer was on too, its glow permeating the empty space.
With no children, no religious group, and no immediate social circle of any kind, she had begun, as an elderly woman, to look elsewhere for companionship.
In the months before her grotesque death, Vickers had made calls not to friends or family but to distant fans who had found her through social media sites. Facebook was her only connection to the world.
She had long been a horror-movie icon, a symbol of Hollywood's capacity to exploit our most basic fears in the silliest ways; now she was an icon of a new and different kind of horror: our growing fear of loneliness.
Every trend that has been tracked over the past 50 years tells us that Americans are more connected and simultaneously more lonely than ever before.
It seems our relationships are growing very broad and very shallow.
• According to the latest U.S. census figures the number of single person households had gone up 150% sense the 1950
• The American Sociological Review reports that the average American has only two close friends in whom they would confide on important matters, down from an average of three in 1985.
• One quarter of the American Population said they had NO such friend. An additional 19 percent said they had ...
There are 16847 characters in the full content. This excerpt only shows a 2000 character sample of the full content.