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12:38 p.m. - 2001-07-25

SURREAL

This has been the most surreal day I think I've ever had.

Through the course of this entry, I'm going to be eulogizing two people that I've known for several years who have both died in the last 12 hours.

Brad was a good kid, and when I say kid ... he was 32 years old. Or thereabouts. Early 30s, but I'm not exactly sure.

Brad was a paranoid schizophrenic. When I first met him, I thought he was faking it. When we were together, he seemed intelligent in a sense. But Brad had the mental capabilities of an 8 year-old and after spending time around him, it was apparent ... he was mentally ill.

I started a job back in 1990 at a buy-sell-trade magazine that I stayed at for several years. The owner/boss of the place was Brad's Dad and a good friend of the family at the time. He still would be, it's just that my parents moved away and people grow apart with long distance friendships.

When we first met, Brad was told that I used to be a comedian and after that, he always wanted to be telling me telling jokes or doing stupid stuff. So for about two years, I kinda hung out with Brad about once or twice a month, he came home once a month from this place where he stayed the rest of the month and we'd play Super Nintendo. Actually ... I just sat there amused while Brad played and cheered himself on. I was there to tell him how great he was...even when he sucked.

Which...was a lot. But he never heard it from me.

He'd come by my office when his Mom would bring him in and want to hang out all day. If it was a slow day, I'd take him to Walmart where he would BEG me to buy him beer and cigarettes. I'd have to argue with him that they wouldn't allow them where he lived (at the time, he lived with a lady and her two daughters in a trailer. It wasn't a very good situation, but at the time, she was the only person who could control him. He was like...22 and prone to running away a lot). He'd still beg for those things and make me feel like crap when I didn't buy him beer and cigarettes, but he'd be kidding about it and have a sly grin.

I swapped jobs in '94 and no longer worked for Brad's dad and I began seeing less and less of his family. Brad was shipped off to an institution in Florida about a year or so ago. He was pretty much kicked out of every home that he'd been to...when I say "home" I mean institution. He absolutely hated it in those place and told everybody how much he hated it.

He was also a virgin and told me he'd die a virgin. I told him he'd get laid someday and it was no big deal anyway.

He never believed me.

I hadn't spoken with Brad personally for about seven or eight years. When he got shipped away, I pretty much lost contact with him.

Last night....Brad jumped off a bridge to his death.

There's not much more details than that. His parents are devastated.

His dad, my former boss...called me this morning to tell me the news.

I told him I already knew and was in total shock.

He asked me ... non-specifically...if I'd be (something) in his funeral.

Okay ... here's where it gets a bit strange.

I told his dad, if he needed me for a pallbearer ... I'm there for them. Whatever they need.

Okay.

He said "thank you".

Now...

Is it possible he would have wanted me to do the eulogy instead and I just filled in the blank when I shoulda been keeping my trap shut and let the man talk??

Y'see...because I don't know. His dad was pretty tore up and to be completely honest with you people...that kinda tore ME up a bit. So he wasn't talking coherantly and I wasn't really listening, because it's hard to listen to your ex-boss who you really respected ... to cry like a baby over his son's suicide to you.

So I'm not really sure. I'm definitely a pallbearer, possibly a eulogizer and 100% sad and in shock over losing this inspirational kid.

R.I.P. Brad


So I got that phone call at about 9 a.m. this morning.

I went to find Wendi to tell her I was going to be a pallbearer, and I started thinking about just how upset his dad was and I just about lost it in front of Wendi, our receptionist and the company intern. I think every woman in attendance turned their heads in horror when they thought New Boy was going to start blubbering in the lobby.

So Wendi came back to my office and I choked out that he wanted me to be a pallbearer and I just felt so sad because I feel like I turned my back on this kid for seven years when he really needed a friend.

His dad told me that I always meant so much to his son.

My God.

Anyway ... so I get that call about ninish from my arch nemesis... Charlie...who is about the only person on this earth that when I hear something bad happened to them, I would say "good".

The guy called and said "Jim...this is Charlie".

And I thought it was Mattie Gee playing a joke on me. Turned out it was really Charlie.

Anyway...sorry...I'm scatterbrained this morning.

So then about 10:30 this morning...Lynn, the sales manager at the newspaper...you know...the job I just left three weeks ago...?

She calls and says "I have some bad news to tell you."

I say "Oh Brad...I just talked to his father, I already knew about it."

She said "No. Tom."

Tom was the original owner of the newspaper. He sold the business in 1994 or so ... he no longer really showed his face much around the office, he wrote a weekly editorial, blasting local politicians and paying homage to old departed friends.

Now he's an old departed friend. Tom died this morning after drinking himself to death.

He hadn't turned in any editorials for the last two weeks. I was told he had been in the hospital for ten days towards the end of his life.

Tom was either loved or hated by our newspaper's readers. He was a big reason that people read the newspaper...they loved his editorials.

My only times spent around him are when we had photo shoots that we all had to be in, or a few parties. He came into the office a handful of times and was actually much nicer than I ever expected him to be.

He was also an alcoholic. If he was awake, he was drinking. I don't believe I ever saw the man sober, and I'd see him at all hours of the day. But that's what old school journalism is all about. You had to get smashed in order to write. Hemmingway. Poe. That's all I can think of and I'm not even sure either one of them fits the mold here. But you know what I mean.

This ISN'T Drunk-Assed Boss that I'm talking about. D-A-B is still alive and kicking.

I swear...I didn't laugh at first, but I couldn't believe that I had to walk into Wendi's office twice this morning to tell her about two funerals of people she's known.

Edweird knew them too. So I had to tell him too.

It was just so strange at that point. It went from sad to strange in a matter of minutes.

Two people passed away in a 90 minute span.

Both of their funerals are this Friday. I definitly have to go to Brad's. The three of us are going to try to make it to Tom's as well, depending on time conflictions.

Anyway...it's been a heckuva day already.


Not to mention, I got that stupid email with the nasty virus on it SIX TIMES this morning. DELETE ANY ATTACHMENT AND EMAIL that reads:

Subject: [filename (random)]

Body: Hi! How are you?

I send you this file in order to have your advice

OR I hope you can help me with this file that I send

OR I hope you like the file that I sendo you

OR This is the file with the information that you ask for

See you later. Thanks

If you get this DON'T OPEN IT!!! Delete it immediately.

A friendly tip from U.B.

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