Monday, February 09, 2009


There's always something to discuss, bemoan, address, insult, ridicule or drag out, especially if you've spent any time perusing these pages. If it's not the somewhat surprising revelation that Alex Rodriguez apparently tested positive for use of one or more steroids during the 2003 season while a member of the Texas Rangers, then perhaps it's the revelation that an American porn star is running for the Senate. It happened in Italy, and they're just as depraved and completely clueless as are most, if not all, of our politicians (even though few Americans would be as supportive if President Obama had a similar appetite for Oval Office activities as did Bill Clinton).

And besides, if people actually were willing to vote for Sarah Palin, why not vote for Stormy Daniels? Just think of the sex-tape possibilities that would create.

Unfortunately, however, neither of those things seems particularly relevant these days. Over the weekend, I'd heard from a friend that a friend of hers -- a guy who I'd known for several years -- passed away suddenly at the age of 41.

At first the news wasn't especially tragic beyond the fact that someone who was 41 -- whose birthday was less than a month away -- had died. But because this was someone I'd known, and who was friendly with many of my friends, it was a strange sort of symbiotic sense of melancholy that seemed to washed over me. His death was most likely a result of some sort of cardiomyopathy that he had endured in his early twenties and not the car accident which resulted when the cardiac episode occurred. Hearing how he had been airlifted to the hospital but didn't survive the trip reminded me of some past events with a close friend of mine who was killed in a pretty serious car accident (by definition, any accident which involves fatalities is pretty serious, but the one that took my friend's life was well beyond that, and I made the mistake of seeing what was left of his car afterwards). The whole incident brought me back to my racing days, to the day I heard my friend had been killed in the accident, and to the sadness and the shock -- and the contiguous lack of surprise -- at hearing he'd died while racing. Like an autistic patient, the further back you go in your memory, the longer and more direct the strands of memory reach, and the whole episode came back to me in a foggy, subconscious blur. I think, at least on some level, that was from where my sadness originated. All these things that float around your head and your heart when you hear about things like this show you where you are and what you are in life, and remind you that despite hearing it each and every day, life really is both fleeting and precious.

In any case, I helped one of Stuart's good friends -- and one of mine -- create a memorial to him within the Facebook framework so that his friends and family can interact in a forum setting; share jokes or stories about him; post pictures and their thoughts; and keep everyone who knew and cared about him on any level together. If all these people lived within a few miles of one another, it would not have been necessary to do this; however, being that Stuart had friends and family in over 15 states -- some farther than others -- it didn't seem right or fair that people in the midwest or in the deep south should be relegated to their thoughts and their silence. Some of these people will reach out to each other and, perhaps, become friends, and if nothing else, at least that will be the good that was the result of something which was otherwise awful.

Setting this up and letting people know about it was, for me, a small part in tribute to someone that was taken way too early. If you'd like to see/hear/read more, do a Facebook search for "In Memory of Stuart Solomon" and, most likely, you'll find it. Even though he wasn't a close friend of mine, knowing I was able to help his friends and family just a little -- if at all -- makes me happy and, if nothing else, hopefully gives them some measure of comfort that he was the kind of person for whom people wanted to help, if even in some small, minor way like this.

Rest In Peace, Stuart.

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