Saturday, August 14, 2010

So Long, my friend



I woke up this morning, getting ready for a vacation north to Chicago and on to Lake Geneva, where my parents used to go drink "highballs" when I was a kid. While I love my job, it is very stressful hitting numbers month after month. So, before the busy period heats up, it's off to cooler pastures. After being up late tinkering with the internet station, I woke late to devastating news. One of the true giants in my life passed in San Jose due to a failing heart. His heart was in such bad shape that he had to have a triple bypass just to get his heart healthy enough to handle a new, transplanted one. He didn't make it. I met Rich and Lisa through an old girlfriend. That girlfriend and I conducted the most tempestuous relationship I have ever known (her story is a number of posts down). Passion, anger, love and hate, all wrapped into one. She was the only woman in my life who ever hit me (actually gave me a cauliflower ear, she hit me so hard). During this relationship, I moved in with Rich and his girlfriend Lisa to a nice, porched duplex on Wyoming street in Kansas City. The porch over looked Roanoke Park and it was a funky, nice place for two guys our age. Even at that time, Rich had health trouble as he suffered from juvenile diabetes and once had a seizure that I didn't know how to handle. We moved in on 9/9/81, I remember it because I did a bit that day on the date, being 9 X 9=81. This was also a very strange time in my life because I was addicted to cocaine. Hey, come on, the rent was about $135 a month and my car was paid off. I had more money than I knew what to do with (Robin Williams was right). The weekdays were fine, I'd only do a little, but when the weekends came, I checked out. The girl and I split up, which propelled my usage of cocaine and now, women, to all time heights. Hey man, I was the king of nighttime radio and I was a star. Everybody wanted to be like me and everyone knew me. I used the power like very few before me. After having about the sixth different woman to the house in three weeks, Lisa and Rich finally said ..."enough." At 26, I was acting like I was 19. They had careers and passions in their life that were so diametrically opposed to mine. They needed to work/study and I needed to party and fuck. Lisa was in training to become a doctor (which she did) and Rich was developing an incredible passion for computers (which he parlayed into a great career). In 1981, he told me something about this thing called the "internet" that would revolutionize the way we did business. He also was following this upstart company called Microsoft and, if I remember correctly, starting buying stock when it was available gobs of it at a time. Rich also had cockatiels, lots of them. They were kinda dirty and loud, but they were also very cool. He trained them to do and say things at his command. Rich and Lisa saved my life. They walked up to me and basically saw me much differently than I saw me and proceeded to tell me about about it. Lisa called me out on the way I treated women and made me know in no uncertain terms it wouldn't be tolerated anymore. I tried to hid the women as I slept on the porch in the summertime, because I would get off work at 10pm and didn't want to disturb them when I would come in late stumbling and fumbling to get naked with someone I had just met. I remember those days well. Not long after that, I decided, for some reason, to take a job in Denver, leaving the new girlfriend (whom I was crazy about) and Rich and Lisa in somewhat of a lurch, because, like a lot of things back then, the decision was made on impulse. See, children of alcoholics go out of their way to destroy the things that mean something because we're not sure how to handle happiness and contentment, we don't know what it's like to be happy. It's a foreign subject for us. I went to Denver because I was pissed at the management of KY 102. That's it, that's the reason. Nice work, Randy, way to drop a nuclear bomb on everyone. After returning to KC in about six months because I knew I made the wrong decision, (Skid Roadie was hired as my replacement, I think that turned out pretty well), I reconnected with the girlfriend but didn't really get to see Rich and Lisa much, they both were on to other things. Engaged for 8 years, Rich and Lisa decided to tie the knot at Lourdes Church in St. Louis in October 1985. I believe the day they got married was the "..go crazy, folks, go crazy.." day. I danced with the tempestuous one that day, then never saw her again. It was a great closure. Rich had such a kind heart and soul and you could get him to laugh easily. You could certainly tell how much these two loved each other and I think secretly, I was looking for that too, but I had no idea where to find it like they did. We lived together for just over a year but I was a different person leaving Wyoming street than I was when I got there. It took someone of Rich and Lisa's temperament to slap me out of my adolescence at 26. We met up a few times through the years but we reconnected via...you guessed it, Facebook. Rich lived a full life and he was loved completely by a beautiful, talented, brilliant woman. It's what we all search for. He found it in bountiful ways and filled his life with so much cool stuff. I think he always knew that he would not live to be an old man. There was always this underlying feel with him. I think he wanted to do as much as he could do in this life. He knew it, so did Lisa and I knew it, too. I'll miss you Rich and all you taught me. I'll miss you mostly for throwing me a life raft as I wandered into waters that were much too treacherous and swift. Thanks for standing up to me and forcing me to confront my demons. I'll never forget you. Rest in peace, my good friend, the fight is over.

1 comment:

KimberlyH said...

I am truly sorry for your loss. I went through that and still am when I lost my brother and Rands dad all with in 6 weeks time not so long ago and then when my mom passed unexpectedly in 2001 (I lost a big part of me then)....The heart hurts...I had to keep reading what you wrote (you understand why). I think your words answered a lot of free floating questions I have had...It explains much..But oh the heart, oh the heart.

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