In 2014, my friend Dave died in his house that was just a couple blocks from mine.
I only know about the location of his home from the invoices he’d submit sporadically to the online news magazine where I served as editor and he served as contributor—our most unreliable contributor when it came to deadlines but our most reliable when it came to page views. Whatever Dave wrote, people read—partly because he was the frontman for GWAR. And partly because (I think) everything he wrote was totally over-the-top nuts…and good.
I was Dave’s editor for a couple of years. We emailed and texted weekly, but we never met in person. He was the lead singer of a heavy metal band, and I was a work-from-home mother of a toddler. I read the pieces he’d composed on tour buses crossing Australia during my breaks from folding laundry and (re)reading of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Our lives didn’t exactly line up.
But he was my friend.
In between his apologies for missed deadlines, he would always ask how our son was doing. He’d sign-off on text exchanges with things like:
“Have a good day with the kid, lil mama!”
“I know I put you through a lot of shit! You’re the best! Thanks for putting up with me!”
(He rarely ended a sentence with anything other than an exclamation point.)
But I wasn’t putting up with him. I liked Dave a lot. To me, he was a this big, loud tornado of a person—and I only experienced him over the phone or through the screen of my laptop. I can’t imagine what he would’ve been like in person.
I wish I’d gotten the chance to find out.