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, pawcurious.com 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.