Big Fish

Did I ever say why I started this blog? I know I have mentioned the usual “I wanted to share stories and blahdiblahblah” but I don’t think I ever talked about the exact incident that made me take the step to start writing.

My husband has a good friend, Kevin. Well, he’s my friend too, but they were friends first. Roommates, to be exact, when we started dating oh so many years ago. Back in the days only half of you will remember when the internet was accessible only by dial-up and people got to know each other on the BBS. (They in fact rode their dinosaurs to BBS meetups down in Bedrock. True story.)

He was savvier about the net than the rest of us put together, and as was his wont to do, he hatched a plan to make videocasts. Tons of videocasts, featuring his friends with interesting stories like doulas and veterinarians and burlesque dancers, that he would then produce, release to an unsuspecting public, and rule the world. Or something like that.

He said to me, “You HAVE to make a vet podcast. It would be awesome.”

I hemmed and hawed. I don’t like the way I look on camera, I said.

“No worries,” he replied. “I know a great makeup artist.” He called her and booked her for the upcoming Saturday.

“I wouldn’t know what to call it,” I said.

“Pawcurious,” he suggested. Just like that, he knew the right name.

“I don’t know what to say,” I hemmed.

“Yes you do,” he replied. And he was right.

And so we went, 8 hours in his rented studio with Emmett, my friend Amber, and Melissa the makeup artist, shooting 5 segments for a videocast that never actually materialized, because for all of that effort he was a man with 5,000 things in the air and despite the passage of 2 years he never got around to editing the raw footage into something coherent. That, too was very Kevin.

While I waited for him to get around to editing the video, I decided I would start a written blog as a placeholder. Thus, was born. The happiest and proudest project of my life I owe to him, because Kevin had an idea.

If you talk to those who surround him, they all have similar stories. He’s the kind of guy who would fix you with his big brown eyes, ask you about your life, and really see you. And when you shared your dream or your hope or your aspiration, no matter how goofy it seems, he would solemnly nod, and just like that, tell you how to do it.

He accepted everyone as is, warts, idiosyncrasies, quirks and all. The more, the merrier- it gave him a better story to share later. You could show up at his house in a Snuggie or an Elvis suit or just you in a bathrobe, and he’d throw the door open and invite you in. Need someone to officiate your Klingon wedding onboard the Enterprise in Vegas? Call Kev. That’s how he rolls.

Speaking of parties, his are legendary. No, seriously. As in Blue Oyster Cult-Mark Hamilton-Elijah Wood legendary. Busloads of Elvises and Santas running around downtown legendary. I-have-to-plead-the-fifth legendary. There are websites devoted to chronicling these debaucherous shenanigans sort of legendary. My husband and I met at one such event. (The story Kevin will tell you about that meeting, by the way, is greatly exaggerated.)

If I had to describe him in terms someone who didn’t known him would understand, I’d have to say he is like the Ghost of Christmas Present. A force more than a mere mortal, who occupies a room with warmth and cheer (and zombies, but that doesn’t really work with the Dickens comparison). Who can take the hand of even the miserliest wretch and show them a good time. Who would walk up to even the most oh-my-god-who-are-you-please-don’t-touch-me sorts of people, grab them in a bear hug that lifted my their feet off the ground, and shake the reservations right out of their spine.

Perhaps an even better comparison, as many have noted, would be Edward Bloom from Big Fish. Edward, who drank in life through his twinkling eyes, spun the monochromatic threads of the day through the prism of his mind, and presented to you A Story. Life, but in technicolor- bigger, grander, and more vivid than you recalled. A little varnish, a sprinkle of hyperbole, a dousing of enthusiastic storytelling. Kevin made everyone the hero of their story.

As you know if you’ve read the blog for a while, the name Kevin has become synonymous with the Angel of Death- due to a small misunderstanding with my daughter and the world “heaven.” I never really worried about the real Kevin being offended by the comparison. I don’t think he got offended by anything (except maybe an empty beer glass). He’d be flattered, truth be told.

I spend a lot of time in here telling Kevin to go away, attempting to chase off that spectre who looms oh too close for comfort. 2009 stole most of my animals. 2010 stole most of my grandparents. And now, in a swipe that has left quite literally hundreds of people weeping, in 2011, Kevin has stolen…well, Kevin.

Damn. When I told Kevin to go away, man, I wasn’t talking to you.

He was a maestro, a leader, a dervish that set hundreds of wheels in motion. He changed so many lives for the better for having been a part of them. And before most of us got to return the favor, whoosh, he set sail on a solo journey to a destination unknown, leaving us forlorn on the shoreline.

The world is dreary today, Kevin. You left us much too soon. I call shenanigans.

RIP Kevin Workman

Filed: Blog, Musings, Picks of the Litter Tagged:
  • I am so sorry for your loss. And thanks to Kevin for the spark that started Pawcurious.

  • Cathey

    I’m so very sorry for the loss of your friend. We all have special friends, and we have probably all have lost one, but Kevin, he’s the friend that, somehow, helps make you who you are, and in a better way. Some of the good news is that while Kevin is gone from your daily life, his influence will always be with you, and therefore, HE will always be with you. And the angels? They are dancing in “Kevin” today with their newest angel.

  • I bet your excellent Kevin will get that bad Kevin straightened right out! Immediately!

  • Georgia Jewel

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your blog is a great homage to your friend. He’s up playing with your pups and making your grandparents laugh.

  • Lisa W

    So sorry for your loss. Sounds like Kevin made quite the impact on those he loved (and through you, even to those he didn’t know). We should all be so lucky. I realize that’s small comfort at the moment, though. Thinking of you…

  • Rose D.

    I am so sorry Dr.V. ๐Ÿ™

  • Wow. I didn’t even know the guy and I’m mourning the hole he left in the universe. That was an awesome homage, great writing. And I’m sorry for your (our) loss.

  • Sylvia

    Ditto what Sue W. said. Wish he had been my friend. Sorry for your loss. ๐Ÿ™

  • Suzanne

    Ditto x2 what Sue W. said.

  • Kim

    What a beautiful tribute. I’m sorry for your loss J.

  • I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. He sounds like a fantastic human being, the kind of person everyone should have in their lives, the kind of person that should have earned the right to live forever. If only the world worked that way… It’s just not fair.

  • So sorry for your loss. I don’t know him, but am glad he was your friend.

  • I’m sorry for the hole in your life right now, but wow, how lucky you were to know him! He sounds like someone who spent his life sharing his heart with the world.

  • What a tribute to what sounds like an amazing guy. You are such a gifted writer; this was beautiful. I know all your readers (including me) owe Kevin big time for Pawcurious. Sending lots of love your way. xo.

  • Marcie (Goldenmama) Rezeau

    I’m not sure how you managed to do such a lovely job writing your blog without leaving tears strung across the internet…A beautiful man; a beautiful tribute. You , and those that met him, partied with him, understood him, will carry forth his pleasures of making this often sad world a happier and better place for not only mankind but for our animals that grace our planet. You and your husband can relish in the fact that you came into Kevin’s life…he is now with you forever…and maybe he’ll have time to get to all those projects he started! I’m very sorry for your personal loss and the demise of this great person named Kevin.

  • Brenda Klingler

    I am so, so sorry for your loss. I wish I had known him. He sounds amazing.

  • Megan

    My condolences to you, your husband, and Kevin’s family. I recently lost someone in my life taken away from me too soon. It sounds like Kevin was a pretty amazing man. It sounds like he’d call you all lamewads for lamenting his loss, so I say you should throw a legendary Kevin-esque party in his honor and celebrate his life. I hope the sting of loss leaves you quickly, you are in my thoughts.

    • I’m sorry for your loss as well, Megan. And yes, you pretty much called his reaction 100%. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m so sorry for your loss – and grateful that Kevin touched your life. Though you he’s also touched us.

  • I am so, so sorry to hear about your friend. Thinking of you…what a beautiful tribute.

  • I am so sorry for your loss… it sometimes seems that the ones who burn so brightly do not get to stay with us very long. Your homage to him is a lovely piece of writing that I know he knew was in you.

  • macula_densa

    I also kept thinking of the irony of his name and started to comment about it earlier, but somehow it seemed wrong so I didn’t. I didn’t want you to think I was making light of the whole thing. The entire situation has broken my heart, and I’m so sorry for all of you. After everything that I’ve heard, I regret that I didn’t know him.

    • He’d be making light of it. “I’m the angel of DEATH, bitches!” that sort of thing. Now that I have “all dogs go to Kevin” ingrained in my head, I keep picturing him up there overrun with dogs, thrilled to be surrounded by so many chick magnets.

      • macula_densa


        Sounds like that’s probably the way he’d want it. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Dr. Amber

          Actually Kevin would love if “All dogs went to Kevin”. He loves dogs! He would send pictures of the dogs they brought to visit him in the hospital. He even got one to climb in bed with him!

          And thank you for writing this Jessica. It’s a beautiful piece about an amazing man.

  • Brooke

    Thanks for writing this. It made me cry, but in a good way. Well done. <3

  • Jennifer Brucker

    I did not know Kevin well, (mostly because I live in the middle of the country)but his passing leaves a huge hole in my life. Kevin was a force of nature, to be sure.

  • What a wonderful post!

    I had to read it twice. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Very sorry for your loss, and for all of us who Kevin spent time with. Great times, lucky we had them at all.

    I miss Kevin.

  • Annie Clark

    I’m so sorry that The A. of D. Kevin has carried away your Kevin,…if it’s any comfort I “lost” the “Kevin” in my Life awhile back, & I recognize the hole you’re talking about, but just think:
    Now, the TWO of them, & a few other ringleader types (like my Dad- look out!) are madly organizing all sorts of wackiness! When we have a “Kev-like” inspiration, it just maybe because they were whispering in our ear…”Do it! You can do it!!”
    I’m really sorry for your loss (even though you probably know right where ya left him) & my heart goes out to his family & friends…I bet they find a lot of comfort in your kind words. < 3 <3 <3