My friend

In the very first post I ever wrote for this blog, seven years ago this month, I wrote about what prompted me to start the blog in the first place:

What’s funny about cancer? Well, nothing. One day last December, however, while I was anxiously hanging around a computer lounge at the Mayo Clinic, wondering if anything would ever seem funny again, I got an e-mail from a college friend of mine who has had two heart transplants in the past few years. He told me to find humor wherever I possibly could; it would save me.

This man has had two heart transplants and still seems relatively chipper, so I believe him.


That e-mail was from my friend Brian, who died yesterday from complications from those heart transplants. He was only 39. I met him on my first day of college in 1993. I had a scholarship that required me to write for the school newspaper, and he was the editor of the paper. I’m sure my other college friends would agree that he was probably one of the best editors that paper has ever had. If you wrote/designed something that really sucked, he would not hesitate to tell you that the thing you just wrote/designed really sucked. But then he would help you make it better.

He was wonderfully funny, he knew everything there is to know about movies and pop culture, and he cooked me chicken stir-fry on my nineteenth birthday. Once we went to a journalism conference in New York City and we spotted Woody Allen in FAO Schwarz. I thought Brian was going to pass out. We pretended we were looking at Barbie dolls while we stalked Woody Allen.

Brian went on to a great career in journalism. I will be forever grateful to that advice that he gave me in 2005 — advice I try to follow every day. I will miss you, Brian.

I thought I’d post this video, because he really liked singing and dancing to this song in college. It seems fitting. I can’t help but think he’d get a kick out of the cheesy roller-skating routine: