19 August, 2008

John (1958-2008)

John was my friend since 6th grade. We were roommates in our first year of college, and shared a house our fourth year. We shared interests in science fiction, military history, strategic board games, role-playing, technology, politics, monty python's flying circus, girls, movies, motorcycles, and the general absurdity of life--though not necessarily in that order. I stopped riding my bike years ago, but he progressed to motorcross and cross-country cruising. He saw most of the country on his BMW. Second only to his wife, Sue, he loved to ride most of all.

John was an engineer, running his own consulting company. It was really starting to take off. Returning from a meeting with a client, he passed through an improperly-marked intersection: flashing red in one direction, flashing yellow in the other. He stopped, looked both ways at the red light, and carefully pulled out to see what might be coming.

What was coming was a car that came down the other street without bothering to slow down.

As best we can reconstruct it, John did everything right. It didn't help: the car clipped the front of the bike, throwing John forward, putting his knee through the windshield and wrapping the rest of his body around to drive John's head through the passenger side window.

He was declared dead at the scene.

I've spent the past few days in Missouri, trying to help his wife and all the relatives to take care of the things that have to be done, while struggling with the shock. That's why there haven't been any posts here lately. And while I usually keep my personal life out of this blog, I want everyone to know what happened.

John was one of the smartest people I've ever known. He was also, although he didn't share it at first, one of the most caring. What was most obvious to everyone who knew him was he was one of the most alive people you would ever meet. If there was something he needed, or wanted, to do--his marriage, his business, his riding, his collection of microbrews, or simply making somebody laugh--he threw his whole self into it.

He lived large. Now he leaves a large hole to fill. We'll survive, and get back to the business of living. All of us--even Sue, who is another of the most remarkable people I've ever known--will rediscover that the world remains full of things to do, and enjoy, and laugh about. At the same time, we will always remember him, and miss him.

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