Eric is gone. Like my father, he was taken by a sudden heart attack before age 50. He wasn’t family and we never lived together, but I felt closer to him than most people who are in those categories. His friendship meant more to me than I can ever say.
I learned so much from him and thought I would keep doing so forever. The depth and breadth of conversations we had were unmatched by anyone else I’ve ever known. Every time I see art that strikes me as strange, I think of him first and always will. Yesterday my nieces showed me an odd movie they’d made and I was telling Mary this morning how much I thought Eric would appreciate it. That was a few hours before I got the news.
I first heard the quote “every time someone dies, we lose a library” from Penn Jillette. It’s hard to imagine anyone exemplifying the magnitude of loss embodied in that quote more than Eric.
Eric was a repository of an unbelievable amount of knowledge about economics, history, religion, grammar, music, movies, art, and countless other categories that I could never hope to enumerate. But Eric could, and he’d do it with a big grin. He knew the details off the top of his head and when he didn’t, he knew where to find it. He was the best internet researcher I’ve ever even heard of, and he was himself an archivist: collecting and retaining the information and memories from his life and upon request the lives of his friends, families, and other relations for the sake of posterity and nostalgia. Both my and Mary’s blogs were hosted by Eric.
I could always count on Eric when I had a question. Even though we’d lived far away from one another for years, we stayed in touch over gchat. My last conversation with him on there was asking for help with a question of language, and him immediately having an abundance of useful information. He was a world-class editor and grammarian. I learned more useful information from him on the topic (with sources!) than in all of my formal education.
I’m grateful he met my children and that Scarlett might carry forward some memories of him. I guess I figured that every year or two he’d keep coming to town for a concert and getting together with us or crashing on our couch. I wish I’d known this April would be the last time that would happen.
I think the thing I’ll miss most about Eric is that we didn’t always agree, but we did always enjoy talking to each other. Smart people who stay honest and kind while disagreeing are the rarest and best people.
Eric was smart, kind, contagiously enthusiastic, and impressively skilled at the things he cared about. He could play the accordion, get top scores on Rockband, type 130 wpm with 100% accuracy, and cite sources for seemingly every idea he put forth.
They say we should always try our best. I believe Eric did. I’m really gonna miss him.
“n.f. f. n.s. n.c.” When spelled out it stands for “non fui; fui; non sum; non curo,” which means “I was not; I was; I am not; I care not.”