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Friday, September 26, 2014

My Favorite Hour (A 50s Memoir)

When I was young, quite young actually, I held a much coveted position as a staff writer for Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows. It was there I met and worked with some of show business’s most notable comic minds: Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Ernest Hemingway (who only worked the first season) and the always hysterical Topo Gigio.

Originally called His Show of Shows, 47 writers good and true were hired and sacked before they came up with Your Show of Shows. Their Show of His, Our Show of 90 Minutes, A Show of Hands (offered by sponsor Ponds), Skippy’s Peanutorium were all floated and sunk before Sid himself came up with his Your Show of Shows. It was rumored that Mel Brooks came up with the first Your but in Sid’s autobiography Your Book of Books (not to be confused with Mel Brook’s autobiography Your Book of Brooks) Caesar dispels that notion:

“Everybody wanted a piece of the title. Woody Allen ran around for months claiming exclusive rights to the ‘of’. The ‘of’. Who wanted a stupid ‘of’? Oy!”

It was an amazing time and a rare honor, almost raw, to work with such show business luminaries and Hemingway, who mostly contributed fishing sketches and brought the beer. In fact, it is a little known story that the beer was what ultimately led to Hemingway's leaving the team. Sid wasn’t big on fishing to begin with, so most of Ernie’s work ended in the crapper, which led to contention between them.

The break came when Ernie (he despised being called that) submitted receipts for the beer. I’ll never forget Sid’s response: “Forty thousand dollars for beer!? For that I could have bought some Germans and brewed my own!”

When he found out Ernie was the only one drinking it he went through the roof. When we got him back down he kvetched: “This is the funniest thing you’ve submitted since you worked here. And it breaks my heart. I could almost understand import, but Coors?”
And with that, he had Woody Allen fire him. Hemingway was a big man and didn’t begrudge Woody for this; we all knew Sid hating firing people. Especially large, rowdy, drunken people, who liked firearms and shows of masculine physicality. He hated firing those kinds of people.

So Woody took the hit for firing Hemingway. Right cross to the nose if I remember correctly. Sent him reeling over a waste can. While hysterically distressing at the time, after Woody got out of the hospital, all fences were mended, primarily by his legal team of Pinchuck, Moosebine & Berkowitz. With the costly litigation, Ernie was driven into early retirement to enjoy his declining years in peace, I imagine. Don’t know what ever became of him…

Originally Neil Simon worked as part of a writing duo with Art Garfunkel. After the Hemingway debacle, budgets were slashed and belts were tightened (this after the disastrous belt slashing and budget tightening first attempt) and Art was let go. Sid had Mel fire him: I remember Mel’s exact woids, “Dis is television, we sell soap. There’s no place for Art in TV.” As we all know that was later expanded to motion pictures, music, literature and the stage.

Of course, Art thought Mel was joking and continued showing up for work until he finally noticed the sign on his office no longer read Garfunkel & Simon, but simply Simon. Infuriated, he grabbed his letters and numbers, storming off, but in his haste he forgot his punctuation which gave Simon the edge in the writing game and it has served him well if popular accounts are to be believed. Garfunkel moved onto other pursuits and achieved phenomenal success in dry goods, where punctuation is only a luxury.

Of course Brooks and Reiner were virtually inseparable, beyond all the time they spent apart, one hilarity after another except, oddly enough, at work. At home, at Solly’s Deli on 54th (not to be confused with Sauli’s Belli on 45th), on the subway, in the elevator for Christ’s sake, these were two of the funniest guys I ever met. I actually lost weight trying to eat with them because I couldn’t get any food past my trachea. Hysterical.

But then they’d show up at work and couldn’t rub 2 chuckles together to save their lives. It was amazing. Initially dubbed Writer’s Block on the Clock, shortened to Clock Block out of convenience, some suspected it was an attempt to hold out for bigger paychecks, knowing that if Sid fired them, invariably he’d have to have one fire the other one which would just get messy and cost more than just tolerating their shenanigans. Hard to imagine these two comic powerhouses on a career defining show unable to come up with a joke, but there it was.

They actually made Hemingway look funny, putting a little hat on him and a big squeezy red nose. This of course after he had passed out drunk again after offering up his latest version of his fishing joke. He didn’t discover his get-up until he passed a mirror on 55th St South, whereby he punched a newsy and caught a hack to Trader Vic’s on 44th St W. Interestingly, he forgot to remove the offending apparel and ended up in an impromptu rendition of HMS Pinafore at Elaine’s.

To counter Clock Block, Sid had Alice Bluhearty, the network stenographer, follow Carl and Mel around and transcribe their conversations. Their first season contribution in fact came from 7 elevator rides, 3 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 12 dinners and a traffic jam on 9th St. One of their most memorable routines, that escapes me at the moment, came from them waiting for a prescription at Schwab’s on 97th.

A couple of wonderful guys, inoffensive to work with and brilliant to hang around with – sadly, owing to the remarkable trajectory of my career, I haven’t had opportunity to keep track of their work. I hope the industry has served them well.

And little Woody Allen; 2 first names and everything. Woody was the closest one to me age-wise, we were both the young upstarts and the subject of much ribbing, a little hipping and some spining from the other guys on the staff. After some particularly vicious shinning from Neil, Woody moved closer to my end of the conference table while castigating him, “Very mature, Neil. No, no really quality stuff. I’m beginning to understand why everybody thinks they took the wrong name off your door…”

I remember one particular crunch where we needed a punch-line for the Near-sighted Boxer sketch. Reiner kept suggesting the Boxer knocks himself out, while Brooks just kept repeating “Nibbles” (ultimately the line we went with). I’ll never forget at one point Woody looked up at me, as he did most people, and said, “Uh, could you pass me that pencil?” And I did. A defining moment in my writing career to be certain.

Woody was a chick magnet and he seemed to always have one or two stuck to his shirt or trousers. Often they would become the source of material for the show as we would peel them off and make them wait for Woody in the green room. Sid often said, “If comedy doesn’t woik out for you, you could become an adult haberdasher…”

In his autobiography Sid recounted, “When the show finally cancelled, Woody gave me a lovely double knit jacket with two blonds stuck to the sleeves. I only wear it on special occasions. Usually when the wife is out…”

At first I thought Sid had hired Topo so Woody would have someone to be bigger than, but the first week Topo made it clear he was settling for no sizism or rodent bias, or he would scurry. I came to feel he held something, some deep dark secret, some ineffable shame over Sid, and I wasn’t alone in this: Woody, Neil and Ernie all expressed similar sentiment. The way Sid let that cute little fuzz ball walk all over him made us sick to our stomachs, except for Woody, who got sick to his pancreas, leading to another hospital visit.

Once, while Woody was hospitalized for a pancreatic enema (Panema) Sid became incensed at my perfume joke, telling me in no uncertain terms, “It stinks!”, while the term Simon used was Fragrant. Eager to please Sid, I set about rewriting it, removing many of the “Nose” references. As I typed furiously, I felt a tap on my shoulder – it was a boy from Western Union with a telegram for me. It read:

To: Simmons

Writing Staff – Your Show of Shows

Re: C. – Topo asked me to inform you - You’re Sacked
That is all

Hemingway



Monday, September 22, 2014

Aloft

Deranged didactics dumbing down
Waylaid wearing world’s weight
Drawing deeply designers drown
Worried wonder why we wait
Rigid reason rejects renown
Insane insistence ids inflate
For fulsome fearsome faces frown
Constant cries commiserate
Seeking solace spirits soar
Heartened healthy heads held high
Majestic minds meander more
Worried we wait, wonder why
Entreat excitements eyes explore
Freed from fear from fetters fly
Elate ecstatic evermore
Satisfaction’s soaring sky

With wings we waft
Seek sojourn soft
Detritus doffed
Afloat aloft

Cumulous caressing cloud
Far from fervor friendlies float
United untamed unbowed
Reason’s wrecks remain remote
Even empathy endowed
Resolute resisting rote
Disappointment disavowed
An aerial antidote
With wings we waft
Seek sojourn soft
Detritus doffed
Alive aloft



©2014 simmbiosis 8/27/14

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nature Preserves/First Period

Nature Preserves

I sat at my desk, struggling to conclude my kid’s version of the Stephen King period piece, Carrie. My publisher, Garfunkel & Schuster, had been relentlessly dogging me owing to my rapidly approaching deadline coupled with the fact I hadn’t submitted a single page after 3 months while burning through my Advance, Movie Rights Advance, TV Spin-off Advance, and the pawning of the furniture in their reception area. It wasn’t going well.

I was distracted. For a guy that can compose piano concertos while writing alliterative lyrics, philosophical studies of the foundation of human linguistics, creating intense visual artwork and watching hardcore midget/donkey porn, that is no small admission. Most people are hard pressed to accomplish anything with midget/donkey porn on.

As a child of the media age, I thrive upon distraction; there’s always some noise happening somewhere near. Of course many bemoan such attention stealers; understandably, narrow focus in this broad range is difficult at best. But I can usually pull focus and force the issue (with midget/donkey porn this is essential), thus achieving amazing things under the strangest of conditions.

But I was stymied. I had spent 3 weeks trying to sanitize the scene where Carrie impales herself on a crucifix screaming “Fuck me Jesus, fuck me Jesus!” before Robin – muse and editrix – pointed out to me that that scene was from the movie The Exorcist and was thus not germane to the original assignment.

My agent, Morrie (Moose) Berkowitz, was near apoplexy, so I stopped taking his calls, prompting him to come by unannounced and wail out on my driveway for hours at a time until Ilsa next door complained. Moose – he hated that name – countered by playing recordings of her yapping, yowling curs back at her, prompting her back inside to fume.

Of course none of this helped so when I heard a knock at the door I was prepared, so I thought, for anything. I threw on a robe, Robin’s it turned out, so it acted as a tight-fitting mini-toga, and stormed to the door.

“I got it, Morrie, Garfunkel wants his lobby set back…I’m on the phone as we speak…”

I held my dead cell phone to my head and squinted to make it look like I was trying to hear over the distant, encroaching sirens. I looked askance; this wasn’t Morrie.

Indeed, upon my porch in the middle of Godridge, 3:00 in the afternoon, stood not my agent Morrie but a very distressed looking zebra. “I’ll call you back…” I said to the phone, then let it slip from my fingers to the runner on the foyer linoleum. The zebra watched as it hit the floor then looked back up at me, puzzled. I’m sure I must have been something to see there in my wild haired, red-eyed, mini-toga thing.

Now, I’m fairly open minded; I work hard to avoid too much bias in my perspective. But even at my best I found it hard to reconcile a zebra soliciting door to door. I thought, “Jehovah’s Witness?” then quickly dispelled that notion in favor of solar retrofitting. I noticed he didn’t have a clipboard. Our eyes met.

“Uh, can I help you?” It was instinctive I suppose; I have pretty much always spoken to animals as if they could not only understand human, but Americanized English human. He looked at me imploringly, but I suspect didn’t decipher the nuance in my query. The sirens neared, accompanied now by the sounds of thoroughly unhappy people, lots of shouters.

The zebra (Eddie his name apparently) looked over his shoulder at the sounds of the nearing people then looked back at me, hopefully. I looked past him at the still street and could hear the local Godridge chopper and about 30 different sirens all closing in, fast. It took me a beat, but I got it when Eddie looked down at his hooves then back up at me.

The Welcome Mat.

Damn, he had me. Originally purchased for hookers and drug dealers, it had fallen into recent disuse owing to dearth of funds resultant to its original application coupled with Advance profligacy. I looked at him, then pulled the door open as I stepped aside. He wiped his hooves on the mat then stepped in graciously. I showed him into the dining room then closed the door.

He stood there, kind of embarrassed, which made me a little uneasy as well – some situations are more difficult than others to muster small talk in. I almost asked if he’d like a seat, then realized I didn’t know if I’d want him to stay that long. I didn’t even know what he was being pursued for. Perhaps he had mal intent. I took a cautious position.

Eddie looked at me with what I would characterize as gratitude – but later turned out to be gas - and then looked around the place. Most of my minor work he gave a quick look at, he actually snorted at Crucifried but was clearly more enamored of Robin’s Meth Odd painting over the firepit/TV hole, viewing it from different angles, adjusting the light for better representation.

There came a frenzied knocking at the door. Eddie looked up concerned. I looked at him, “Relax. I’ll see who it is…”

“There’s an escaped zebra on the loose!” He was a pudgy little bald guy. His name patch declared him Pete.

“Well, that would be consistent with escape.” Pete eyed me suspiciously – what was I up to? I elaborated, “Being on the loose and all.” He wasn’t buying it, so I turned it back on him and the wild-eyed contingent swarming the street beyond his pudgy suspicions.

“How could you lose a zebra in Northridge*!?”
Pete was on the defensive, right where I wanted him, “I didn’t lose it! They had it for the Farmer’s Market. On loan from the Zoo…”

Ah, the weekly Farmer’s Market at the Fascist Center. In the media pit, Eddie knocked over The Simpson’s Season 14 with a crash while nosing around the DVDs. Pete looked up concerned. I covered.

“The Fashion Center** is 2 miles away. How did it get all the way over here? Presuming it is…” Now Pete was annoyed. He scrunched up his pudgy face, then shoved his hand in his coveralls. “Crash. Down on Plummer. Just trying to warn people.” He scowled at me then turned back to the busyness on the street beyond, his voice trailing off, “Asshole.”

I closed the door and went back in. Eddie was watching The Great Escape. I brought out the Fiddle Faddle. Don’t think I’ll ever finish that adaptation…

*what infidels call Godridge
**what conservatives call the Fascist Center



First Period


A lonely little girl lived in a town not far away. Her mother was very sick and had no one but her daughter to help her. Like her lonely girl, she was very lonely as well. They only had each other.

They lived on a quiet street in a small house with two stories. As they had no TV, they would often amuse themselves telling and retelling those stories. The little girl had a special room all to herself, under the stairs, where she could think about the stories and other things her mother wanted her to.

Her mother had a bad sickness, it made her see things that weren’t there and think people who were pretty much average were instead very, very bad. This more than any other thing kept her from having friends; she was afraid of people and that made them afraid of her too.

The little girl was like her mother in that she was afraid of people. The kids in her town didn’t understand why she was afraid of them and as most kids most places, were too selfish to care enough to find out why. So they teased her. They called her names, threw things at her and did things to embarrass her, to make her feel even worse than she did.

It worked and she sunk into her mind where she could be accepted, where she could be liked. Unlike other girls and boys who had to use their bodies to move things, she was able to move things with her thinking. The problem came in that she had the most power to move things when she was angry.

It came to pass that when her feelings got hurt, other people’s bodies got hurt too. This did not help her get more friends. And as she had none, one would be more.

When little girls become big girls, their bodies change much like when babies become little girls: they get bigger in places; they get stronger and smarter and faster. When little girls become big girls they become able to make babies. Their bodies change to allow that to occur. The girls at her school knew about this. The little girl didn’t.

She found out at school. First period, in the gym, she found out in a most embarrassing way. The girls at school saw fit to embarrass her even more; they mocked, called her names, threw things at her. This made the little girl cry. She was very sad. When she understood that her issue was normal for girls her age, she was relieved, but very unhappy.

She asked her mother why she never told her about this, why she was allowed to go to school not knowing. But her mother was sick. She told her daughter that the issue of her concern was the result of her bad behavior, that she was a bad girl with bad thoughts. She made the little girl go to her special place to think on her distress. This made the little girl very unhappy.

Things began to move about.

One of the girls at her school felt bad about making fun of the little girl. She had her boyfriend ask her to the prom, a big deal in any girl’s life. The little girl didn’t believe him; she thought she was being tricked. But her classmate’s boyfriend did not give up and finally the little girl agreed to go with him.

One of the girls who made fun of the little girl could not go to the prom for that very reason. She and her boyfriend came up with a way to really embarrass the little girl. She blamed the little girl for her not being able to go to the prom. She did not see her part in her problems. They would come to haunt her.

The little girl, in a dress she made, enjoyed the prom. She and her classmate’s boyfriend were even crowned king and queen of the prom. Then the mean girl and her meaner boyfriend played their trick on the little girl.

So she killed them all.

The End


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Funny Man

The laughter has abated
Alas the presses cried
Tragedy has won again
A funny man has died
They said his sadness took him
They called it suicide
It seems the best life offers
Leaves us dissatisfied
Each day seems more difficult
In all this to abide
Where all the sadness welling
In our hearts is multiplied
So often we have seen it
Where humor has belied
The smile on the face
Masks the misery inside
Thank you for your laughter
My sorrow for your pain
The world has lost a funny man
Who brightened the mundane
Alas your great sadness
Wipes the smile from my face
Even though your joy made
The world a better place

The battle with addiction
The enemy within
So hard to best the killer
That lives beneath your skin
Life within the spotlight
Hero or heroin
The high price of celebrity
The winners seldom win

Thank you for your laughter
My sorrow for your pain
The world has lost a funny man
Who brightened the mundane
Alas your great sadness
Wipes the smile from my face
Even though your joy made
The world a better place


For Robin Williams with great sorrow

© 2014 simmbiosis 8/12/14

Friday, June 13, 2014

At The End

At the end as the beginning
Existence is joy and grief
Calculated underpinning
Time the existential thief
So much on the future pinning
Far too long and then too brief
Transforming our faces grinning
Weeping into handkerchief
Ultimately there’s no winning
All life the eternal’s fief
Each hour our numbers thinning
Shallow lives in broad relief
Beginning with the mind’s awareness
From there thinking can extend
Grapple within reason’s rareness
Then return it at the end

No matter what you do
Whether you are cruel or kind
Or how much you accrue
How deeply your pockets lined
Regardless of the who
Or of notions as opined
The many or the few
Disparately or aligned
Not subject to review
Not lauded nor maligned
Unable to renew
No reason to be resigned
How much you owe or due
In the body of the mind
Your joys you take with you
Your possessions leave behind

Beginning with the mind’s awareness
From there thinking can extend
Grapple within reason’s rareness
Then return it at the end


For Gayle © 2014 6/12/14

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dustin - The Wind

"I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me." Psalm 22:14

Occasionally, life will blow you away. We adapt to the little gusts and zephyrs which buffet us around in the usual course of daily activity, the bursts that knock off a hat or raise a skirt. Inconvenient, perhaps even amusing in the right circumstances, but nothing beyond what a functional person is able to contend with. Then out of nowhere the howl and rush blindside us as the grand invisible knocks us off our feet into crumpled wrecks. The power of the wind is that you can see what it does, but you can’t see it.

A young man died on Sunday. A traffic collision ended another life too soon, for no good reason. He wasn’t a celebrity or business superstar, nor a man of political ambition or even religious piety; he was a man adrift in a world full of them. As most, his note came in the lives he touched and the love he possessed. For most of us, that must be enough.

His name was Dustin Scott Haywood. He was 31, he was my nephew and, more importantly, he was my friend. I knew him all of his 31 years, distantly, as my family is nuclear (but only after the explosion and all is distributed far and wide). I met him in Sacramento/Fair Oaks when he was a baby and watched him grow in and around there and Santa Rosa, California, when I and my family would visit my folks for occasions from Los Angeles.

He was 2 years older than my son, several younger than my daughters. Dustin and his younger brother, Nick, played with my son, Errol, and they spent much of their childhoods growing up together. As Dustin grew, he found a special affinity for me as did I for him; he was fascinated by my weirdness but likely more so by my joy of living. He took an interest in piano upon seeing the fun I had with it, showed me what he’d learned when we’d see each other.

When I had the occasion to speak with his father regarding the atrocities of 9/11, Dustin saw the logic with which I presented my perspective, as did his father (who willingly bypassed the obvious in favor of the comforting). In his distrust of authority another of our bonds was formed. In the disdain of my sister and her husband for my negative influence upon him we found a mutual amusement as well – how I, who spoke to Dustin maybe 3 times a year, could have a stronger influence than his parents who he lived and worked with daily for years says much, I suppose, about all of us in his regard.

He was smart, quick-witted, but undisciplined as are most men at that age these days (undisciplined, not smart or quick-witted), and hungry for meaning. His dad is fairly conservative and very nationalist/capitalist, a flyer in the military before getting into real estate. Dustin, tall and very slight, was not of a military mind, nor was my son, which is a good thing considering what our military was getting into when they were coming of age. This is an influence I will gladly accept responsibility for: my mother, his mother and my brother all pushed for my son to join the military because he didn’t have a job. Dustin was likewise pushed by his parents.

This was around 2002. Just after we invaded Afghanistan, just before we invaded Iraq and all the rest. I repudiated my family for suggesting to my son and my nephew that they should join the military “To make men out them.” I took issue with this and do so still because that is exactly the opposite of what the military does.

What is a boy? Someone so immature that you must dress him, feed him, make him clean up after himself, tell him what to do and most importantly make all his decisions for him. That describes parenting and the military nicely. Parenting has virtue because you spend all your time trying to keep your kids from being killed or killing anyone else. The military is just about the killing.

Afterward, the young inductee, discharged back into the wild, still has to find a place to live, a car to drive, a job, a life – but now with the added benefit of having been trained to shut up, follow orders to the letter, view oneself as the lowest scum of the Earth, yet still superior to everyone else, and especially being expected to kill the competition with no qualm. Like college students, most probably end up back at home after their stint, at least until they end up on the streets as more of our social castaways.

This is a man? Shut-up, do as you’re told, follow orders, kill your fellows because it is the only way to win!? This is socially seen as our pinnacle of desirability – don’t forget, hire a vet. Because like a good saddle horse, a vet is broken; he will obey command. Those who reject such thinking are outcasts, marginalized, targeted. It happened to me. It happened to Dustin.

I will recount the bullet points of a complex relationship: Dustin worked in real estate with his dad, made some money, had a house. He allowed a female friend to stay with him, with her own room, in his house. She went wacky and became menacing so he had her move out. Then one day, while he was alone in the house, in the shower, Dustin heard someone breaking in. He threw on some pants and grabbed a shotgun. He found his former roomy and some fellow in the house and insisted they leave. After a heated exchange, they left. Dustin was arrested. Spent years enjoying the benefits of the legal system. Had to pay the intruder who broke into his house $15,000.00 - court ordered - to avoid ass-rape prison.

For holding a gun in his house.

This vexed Dustin, as well as several of us. I learned long ago that when they get you, money is the only thing that ungets you. Dustin learned too. So he lost his house, moved into his parent’s rental condo. Then they decided to sell that. Or give it to his brother. The last time I saw him, mid-last year, he and a friend had come down for a job interview and stayed at my place. He was downbeat about his living circumstance but still positive about future endeavors. He had plans.

In February he texted that he and a friend would be coming down and I let him know what he always knew: he was welcome any time. That went on hold. Then, early March, he texted me again, said he was into something that he could only talk to me about because I would understand. I told him I was all eyes and he told me he would tell me soon.

Then Sunday came the call.

Grief is as the sea – Distant: vast, impenetrable but still and calm. Close: it washes over us in waves until we are consumed. Battered we gasp for breath and clutch for something solid to moor us, coming away with only sand. The death of a love becomes like a dream, it doesn’t seem real in the midst of seeming all too real. Waiting for the wake-up that puts everything back right, the wake-up that never comes. And the dream/nightmare becomes our new reality.

When the call came, I knew instantly by the sound of my ex’s voice. That horrid sensation triggered only by a single word uttered across a phone connection that sends your body into distress mode, “What happened?” Before she could answer I thought, “It’s my Mom. Don’t let it be Errol.” When she said it was Dustin, I was stunned. Not Dustin. He’s the only one in the family that likes me. I love Dustin. As she told me what she knew, I became awash, gasping for air, sinking deeper and deeper into despair. I love Dustin.

And like that, he was gone.

Dustin understood the evils of capital but he enjoyed its benefits as well. He, like so many people young and old, found the pursuit of it empty and meaningless, a lifetime spent running in place on a treadmill that increases speed the longer you run. He had agrarian aspirations of which I dissuaded him, having farmed in my youth. He was at one point ready to put off to Fiji and areas contiguous to build a commune/resort for a charismatic leader and I dissuaded him in that as well. I wonder now if I should have.

Probably.

He saw that we had taken our paradise, which we so clamor for, and turned it into the jungle that we are so proud of climbing out of. This troubled him as it does any compassionate person and I felt his idealism turning into cynicism; he was becoming a man. The marketplace is occasionally generous to those who willingly play the game, but to we who mock convention it is a cruel mistress, offering the promise of delights never delivered.

Dustin could act the part but his heart wasn’t in it. This we shared in common as well. He had strayed from the path. He had seen what most cannot (and not owing to incapacity so much as unwillingness). Some of this I may have showed him, most he found on his own. Inquisitive minds inquire. I know he felt alone and it breaks my heart he didn’t continue our discourse.

That I didn’t.

Some, it seems, breeze through life or get blown through it (in both positive and negative connotations) while others stake a more fixed place. While I have spent annoying amounts of time around most of my other family members, Dustin always seemed in transit, moving some direction or another in that common search for sense in all this. I enjoyed our time immeasurably but rarely got more than a day here and there to enjoy his company. I am very touched he found me interesting enough to want to socialize with.

As with all friends lost, I thought I would have more opportunities.

My dad told me that if by the end of your life you can count your true friends on one hand, you’ve done okay, had a good life. At the end of his life, I was one of maybe two on his hand. I’m glad that I could be after all we went through together. I know that at the end Dustin counted me on his hand[s] and I am honored to have been there as well.

Sadly, at my end I will have one less on mine.

Rest in peace my Friend.

Love always