was a good man and a kind man and a persistently cheerful man.
I did not, unfortunately, get to count him as a close friend, but he was someone I cared about and someone I hugged and someone I'd go out of my way to be in the same pub as. He was someone I nagged constantly about smoking; he repeatedly failed to quit but was wry and patient and stubborn in the face of my pestering. He was careful to keep a separate vegetarian barbecue at parties. He threw good parties.
He liked rocks. He liked Cornwall. He went to Burning Man every year. He missed California while in the UK, and I think missed the UK once back in the States. He was damn good at his job. He once, in frustration, blamed a bug on invisible elves, which spawned a series of visual jokes
on Clive's whiteboard at work.
He was going to be an uncle.
He died of complications of an illness that was entirely due to stunning medical incompetence. He had thought he was on the mend; he was pissed off at the enforced bed rest; he was preparing to sue the doctor who'd administered him contraindicated drugs.
He died the day before my birthday. I found out the day after my birthday. My first reaction was to swear a lot. My second was to notice that he'd quit smoking. I think he'd have found this funny.
This afternoon and this evening, his funeral was held back home, and his friends in the UK got together for a party. There was booze; there was fire; there was music. There was glorious sunshine. There was a remote-controlled helicoptor. He'd have loved it.
And in a quiet room inside the house there was a display cycling through photographs of him, and a book for us to write in, to send on to his family.
I'm sending a rock. It's a tourmaline-bearing pegmatite granite from Megiliggar Rocks, on the South coast of Cornwall.
And I'm telling you. I don't need sympathy, but I'd like you to spare him a thought. He made life beautiful.