i spent last weekend in north carolina visiting friends. the night before i was to return home, my office contacted me to tell me a colleague, and friend, had passed away. joe was a young guy, younger than me. to describe joe to someone who didn't know him i'd tell them he had an easy affability you could liken to alan alda's character on MASH, hawkey pierce, and also that his most noticeable and endearing feature was his youthful and mischievous grin which he flashed often.
joe lived life with a vigor seen in few people. one of his greatest passions was music. a year ago, joe asked if i would help him with the lyrics of an album he was planning. i was flattered and intrigued by his invitation. we would lunch or meet at his house to discuss all sorts of topics. it's the closest i've been to those infinitely awesome dorm-room philosophy sessions which without fail spun into the morning hours. life on other planets. the meaning of existence. what makes a good song. an endearing story. the power of language. the mood of sound. basically, these were conversations that would have been endless in subject and enjoyment.
i don't have a lot of experience with death. and by a lot i mean any. joe is the first person i've known who has died. while i'm fortunate to have been spared all of these years, i feel entirely ill-prepared for the emotions i'm experiencing. the only absolute i know is i will miss seeing joe sitting across from me flashing the smile i came to know him by.