A heavy reminder of mortality

Yesterday, Tina and I were digging through a couple different second-hand stores looking for things that might be suitable for our studio.

I looked down at my phone and a text informed me that a friend died.

Let’s call him Sam.

I think Sam was my age. Late 30s. I met him at our local watering hole back in 2007 or so. On the occasion that I was there on a Friday or Saturday night playing pool, Sam inevitably waddled in and put his name on the board.

He was a guy I pined to beat, as — at the time — he was better than I was.

Sam was quirky. He had a bit of a waddle when he moved. A slide of the feet. When he shot pool, he was quick, deliberate and exact.

At the time, I knew him by name, but he was more of an acquaintance. After meeting Bill, we all became friends. I had no idea Sam was a photographer, too. Just like Bill got me into concert photography, Bill got Sam into it.

Sam recently bought a bunch of new gear, including a new camera and lens. He really looked up to Bill, and from what I understand, looked up to me, too.

For the past month or more, he asked if he and I could do something together so he could pick my brain about photography. I told him, “Of course.” He loved the White Sox, and he said that when the season gets going a little more, he’d nail down a time.

Sam also loved to world travel, and he shared many secrets with me about how he finds cheap airfare. He would also send me messages about different art exhibits in the city that I should consider going to.

He gave me his passes for SOFA last year because he knew I was one of his only friends who would go.

Sam had a distinct artistic side. He was meticulous and spent hours, days and weeks creating longboards and jewelry. He loved to ride and show off walls of longboards he built.

The details of his death are still to be determined. And hurts me to think about, and I’m not sure exactly what I think about the whole thing. His privacy is somehow important to me.

I’m not one to consider him in the next world, whether heaven or hell or ESPN sports zone. But I would like to see his memory continue among his friends.

But, man, it’s such a heavy feeling.

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