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05 August 2010 @ 09:23 am
a man called zeeke  
With K's niece and my brother both home from the hospital and recovering nicely this weekend, I was really feeling like we'd dodged our share of potential tragedies for the year. But then Monday night there was a message on our answering machine. Our friend Dave, known in various corners of the internet as zeeke, had been found dead in his apartment near Salt Lake City. He was only 37.

We had met as residents of an international web forum full of blasphemous, dirty-minded, sarcastic jokesters that oddly evolved into a very real family that's still going strong even though the website that brought us together is long gone. It was hard to break the news to them, but hearing their memories and testimonials about him has really helped me with Dave's passing.

K. and I met up in person with Dave and his wife for the first time in Las Vegas some time back in 2003 and the four of us got along like gangbusters. After that we never went more than a year or two without seeing each other, usually in May. In 2004, he and his wife came out to stay with us and we took them to New York City. In Spring of 2007, K. and I went out and spent some time in Utah with them. They took us to Moab and showed us a great time, even as their marriage was sadly falling apart. And in Spring of 2009, he came out to stay with us and we tried to convince him to move out here permanently, a step he seemed always just on the verge of making.

Dave was as passionate about fishing, hiking, kayaking, sports, dogs, and beer as any man I've ever met, but what he really loved was people. He was passionate about his love for his family and friends. K. says pointed out that when Dave was talking to you, he was always fully present, fully engaged, fully experiencing that moment of his life, and it's true. It's easy for me to think of him as happy go-lucky just because he was so lovable and fun, but that's just a sketch, a cartoon of who he was. He'd had plenty disappointments and worries; he just always made the effort to be positive. He was one of the sweetest, funniest, greatest guys I've ever known.

I'll think of Dave whenever I drink a Yuengling lager, Philly's local beer, which Dave loved with crazy zeal whenever he was visiting. I even have a Yuengling hat that I was saving to give him the next time I saw him.

Dave and I generated inside jokes at a ludicrous rate when were together, silly stupid phrases that—for a time at least—will make me a little sad when they pop back into my head, but remembering Dave will never make me feel bad.

I've been weighing whether or not to go Utah this weekend for the memorial services and the scattering of his ashes over his favorite lake. I'd really like to be there, but the trip would end up costing about a thousand dollars and I'm not really certain what the benefit would be. I think Dave would have rather I spend that money enjoying the company of the living. I can mourn him almost as well from here, drinking to his memory with friends nearby and sharing testimonials of him on the internet with our mutual friends around the world.

If I'm feeling the need for a touch of ritual to mark his passing this weekend, I think I'll do it with a few bottles of Yuengling, just as I would if he were here with me.

I love you, brother.

Listening to: Portastatic - "Noisy Night"
Kid_Jkid_j on August 5th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
Sorry for your loss. Good people are a treasure in this world and it's all too common for them to depart before their proper time. I'm sending you positive vibes from Miami.
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: fishingassmonkeydiary on August 5th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I appreciate it.
Pallaspallasathene8 on August 5th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
I like that they are going to scatter his ashes at a lake.
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: green grassassmonkeydiary on August 5th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, me too. I gather that he had told his brother that that was his wish the last time they were out there.
(Anonymous) on August 5th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry for you loss; I don't quite know what to say. Obviously, we've never met, but I'll have a few of the old Vitamin Y tonight, and I'll remember your words and appreciate my friends that much more while I still have them. Thank you for sharing.

Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: meditatingassmonkeydiary on August 5th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Alex.
mithoviel on August 5th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
I'm very sorry for your loss. How did he pass?
hopefoothopefoot on August 5th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
That got me crying again.
lilyvalleylilyvalley on August 6th, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
Yeah. Me, too. This sucks. (Not your post, grid. That was awesome. Oh, you know what I mean.)

Pass the tissues, Hope.
theballadofyoko on August 5th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
Wow. This is a shock to me. I only met him once, but I thought he was a fun and smart person when I met him. I was hoping he would move to Philly, too-- I imagine he would have enjoyed the city and being near you. I'm very sorry to hear of his passing.
orcaarroworcaarrow on August 6th, 2010 12:57 am (UTC)
I'm very glad to hear K's niece and your brother are doing well. I'm very sorry to hear about your friend. I know he will be missed.
micahlaerm on August 6th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC)
Sincerest condolences to you and your communal family, friend. He sounds a lot like my friend Chris, who I also lost a few years ago. It sucks, but I think you're right in choosing to celebrate his life and not mourning his death. Wherever he is, I'm sure he'd rather you have a good time in his memory in a way that you're comfortable with. I'll lift my Yuengling to him as well. :)
eeeoeeeo on August 6th, 2010 05:18 am (UTC)
Thank you, Grid.
doNUT!donutgirl on August 6th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)
so sorry to hear this, but it was a wonderful tribute.
traballenguastraballenguas on August 6th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
Sorry, man. Glad to hear that your family members are on the mend.
everybody hates a tourist.dynamine on August 6th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
this was lovely, sir. i just want to keep the image of you two smuggling lagers out of the 'Tone last spring in my head, always.

i'll call you and K tonight, and see how you are. <3
mother of the angry mob: TOES!!!pennyland on August 7th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
very late, found out very late..

I keep them all, all the memories of air hurling and catching, them all..

they are mine, and they are golden. :)