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RIP, Rick

You see that picture of me that accompanies this column? I’m only about two-and-a-half years old (the photo doesn’t record the date it was taken), by my estimate, but already I don’t look very happy. Little did I know what was coming up around the bend. In fact, just this Tuesday, I was bowled over by the news that a good friend of mine, Rick, had passed away this past Saturday; and I was already depressed. I’m not going to list his full name, because I don’t yet have the death notice, and I have failed to get in touch with his family; but what a kind and decent guy he was, so full of life. Such a decent human being.

About my life, I have no real complaints. Probably no more than most people. By my age, most of my peers have already lost their parents. A few are lucky enough to still have theirs living even after passing 90 years of age. How much I envy them. Like me, most in my age group have kids who are already grown, and most have grandkids as well. At this stage in our life, things should be relatively good. We’re not pumping full steam like we were in our 30s, 40s, and even 50s to some extent. It should be the time where we’re starting to take things a little easier, relax a little, and then comes this virus from hell, AKA China, to tear apart our world.

Most of our parents, depending obviously on our age, never lived through a global pandemic the size of which we are now facing. Besides, the Spanish Flu of 1918 didn’t kill off the U.S. economy like this one is doing. Compared to today and what likely lies ahead, the people who lived through the Great Depression that began in 1929 had it better than us. They had a sacked economy with which to deal, but they didn’t have to worry about contracting a potentially lethal virus that can be spread by asymptomatic carriers.

I just spoke with my buddy Rick about three weeks ago. He had had a bad bout of the flu this past winter. He was out of the office for weeks, so I called him up to see how he was doing. Fine, he said, but he was amazed at how long it had taken to recover. Still, he said, he was doing a lot better now. I asked him if he was back to 100 percent. He said, no, about 90 percent, but he was almost back to full recovery.

Then, this Tuesday, a mutual friend tells me Rick died Saturday. You’ve had that happen to you, right? Out of thin air you find out that a friend has just died, who hasn’t yet passed the age of 60, and you sit there stunned in total disbelief.

Until I can find out more, I’m not going to speculate about my buddy’s death, but in these trying times, catching the flu last December seems odd, only in the sense that it lasted for more than two weeks. Then comes news that apparently he contracted some new intestinal virus and within less than five days he was pronounced dead.

My condolences go out to his wife, children, close family, and friends.

There really aren’t a lot of truly great people in this world who can find a way to make you laugh no matter how blue you may be. My buddy was like that, full of life. I’m going to miss you, amigo. A lot. Rest in peace.

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