My second best friend died Tuesday in a motorcycle accident on his way to work. [newspaper articles] There he is in my favorite pic of him. I first met Jeff online on worldskins in August. He lived three blocks from my apartment. The first time I went to his place and he was coming to the gate, he held his hands straight up above his head. I asked what it meant and he said "big scary monster". When I did it to him, I learned the recipient is supposed to act terrified and run away. The monster symbolized what he wanted to be, and the kind of challenge he liked in others.
We started meeting every weekend, and I'd take my laundry over every few weeks to do it there while we watched movies. Jeff was a 100% masculine guy from Yakima, a farming town in eastern Washington. That's hard to find in Seattle so it was refreshing. He liked aggression, shaved his head, wore military gear, and drove an old metal jeep with a metal locker in back. Sometimes we went to Costco together or Re-PC, and he introduced me to a wholesale food outlet and a Carhartt store. I was going to take him to his first MMA match December 6th.
He used to repair laptops for a living, so knew a ton about computer hardware. He'd get strange things from the Boeing surplus and turn them into computer equipment. He had a computer hanging without a case, and another one built inside a Lego castle. He made his own furniture.
He liked me a lot, so I'm glad to know I made his last few months happy. He saw in me the big scary monster he wanted to be, so we liked holding each other as buddies, him to feel safe and protected, me to feel his energy and optimism. Being 160 pounds and thin, he could run circles around me and leave me in the dust walking. He was proud of that. He also liked to be hit in the chest, see how many punches he could take. I was stunned to see he could keep going again and again, apparently without limit. The toughest non-fighter I've ever seen. He would have made a good soldier.
He also came with sound effects. He'd put his finger in his ear and twist, while making the sound of a window-washing squeegee. He called himself lthrgoat, so finally I nicknamed him Goat and he'd go "Ba-a-a". He had other sound effects that were also amazingly realistic.
Jeff was happy in other ways his last couple months. He saw his friend Woody's tattoo finished after several sessions. He had friends at work. He had a good job and was paying off his condo quickly. And he enjoyed having a house full of furniture and computers he'd built himself.
I found out about his death when my friend Bob emailed him last night and got a reply from Jeff's friend Dave. Bob came over and we went to Jeff's place. I looked at his empty window and cried. I still break down when I think about the things we enjoyed doing together. I'm not sure why; we did do them and they can't be erased. Maybe it's because we both assumed we'd continue doing them for a long time.
I cried when I looked at his empty window, and again when I think about the things we did together that we enjoyed. I'm not sure why, because they did happen and they can't be erased. I think because we assumed they'd continue happening for a long time.
His death reminded me that anybody can go at any time. And somehow people who pass away become part of you.
To all Jeff's friends: don't mope and get depressed. Do what makes you happy. Find another bud too. Don't feel bad about it; that's what he'd want you to do.
Rest in peace, my man. You're the Big Scary Monster now. And I cried every time I say that, until I wrote this.
Sluggo is Mike Orr, a helluva friendly guy in Seattle. Email me if you have feedback.