January 5, 2018
Just a Guy Named Bob
I received terrible news this Thursday morning. Bob, one of my best friends from my college years suddenly passed away. It’s hard to find humor for my column today so I apologize in advance if you were expecting the usual fun. Instead, this issue is more about “passing on”— passing on advice, passing on memories and passing on to eternity.
Bob was my classmate in my first freshman college class. We were on our road to becoming engineers. From the outset he had that air of confidence and that dry sense of philosophical humor. He was a smart kid with the numbers. But numbers were never my friends so I changed majors and our social circles swirled in other directions.
Then when I transferred to GWU in Washington DC, I saw this familiar face crossing the pedestrian lane going the opposite direction. We both stared at each other in disbelief. “Hey! Are you who I think you are?!?!” A little laugh, a nervous tap on the back and that was it. We were acquaintances more than friends. Again our “circles” did not mesh.
Several months later, I had friends with guitars and voices and we started a band. Someone mentioned he knew a guy who also played the guitar. In fact, this guy won a town talent contest playing a classical guitar piece. Of course it turned out to be Bob. From the day of our first practice together we became best of friends. He even became a relative because he married my cousin.
After college we parted ways. History passed underneath the geographical bridges of our lives. And it wasn’t until a few years ago when I visited the East coast to bury a mutual friend that I was able to spend quality time with him in his home. He even lent me his car for as long as I needed it. We talked about religion and politics and everything in between. To survive those topics means we were really friends.
Last November he was having difficulty keeping food inside his stomach. I talked to him on the phone and he was despondent but he seemed to be getting better. I told him when I got back from Nigeria that I would come and visit. But around Christmas time they said he was getting better and there was no longer any urgency to visit. I planned to go this month. So the news this morning was shocking and devastating. I will be flying to the East coast to pay my respects.
Unfinished conversations, a warm touch on his shoulder, a joke left to share, a song yet to be sung … who is the Bob in your life? Go! Call! It’s the first week of a new year. It’s a good time to tell him you care.
So long Bob. So long.
Rules for My Sons
Contributed by Tom of Pasadena, CA
[Not a joke for the most part but good practical wisdom]
- Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.
- There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs ain’t one.
- The man at the grill is the closest thing we have to a king.
- In a negotiation, never make the first offer.
- Act like you’ve been there before. Especially in the end zone.
- Request the late check-out.
- When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
- Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
- Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
- Don’t fill up on bread.
- When shaking hands, grip firmly and look him in the eye.
- Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.
- If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.
- Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.
- You marry the girl, you marry her whole family.
- Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.
- Experience the serenity of traveling alone.
- Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.
- Never turn down a breath mint.
- In a game of HORSE, sometimes a simple free throw will get ’em.
- A sport coat is worth 1000 words.
- Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.
- Thank a veteran. And then make it up to him.
- If you want to know what makes you unique, sit for a caricature.
- Eat lunch with the new kid.
- After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.
- Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.
- See it on the big screen.
- Give credit. Take the blame.
- Write down your dreams.
Lost in the Fifties
Sent by Tom of Pasadena, CA
Your life will flash before you with this video if you were alive during the fifties.
Thanks to Don of Kelowna, B.C. who provided this photo