Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mike And Terry

As is my occasional custom, I venture out onto the information superhighway and try to find folks from my past. Although it often leads to nice things like old new facebook friends, it also leads me down some darker alleys sometimes (http://philosopherking-michael.blogspot.com/2010/05/true-crime.html). The other night I went looking for a couple of friends from college, and I found them. They died within a year of so of each other recently, so I missed connecting with either of them.
I met Mike in my freshman English course. He was small and a bit odd looking - I think he had been born with a minor birth defect. Mike loved Science Fiction (SF from here on out because I may have to type it a hundred times...) and he was an unabashed nerd. I had never thought much about the genre before that point; I had only recently acquired a marginal interest in Star Trek reruns. Mike exposed me to a wide range of SF, not only in TV and film, but in literature as well. We discussed potential Star Trek plot ideas and even wrote some short stories. Soon, I had joined the SF book of the month club and was even going to a few events on campus. My SF phase lasted several years, and I am positive I would have never gone through it if I hadn't met Mike.
Mike and I hung out often, and he soon introduced me to Terry. Terry was a big, nerdy, bohemian. He was larger than life in many ways, totally Mike's opposite. He was loud and funny. I didn't quite know how to take him, but I liked his outwardness. Mike, Terry, and I would spend our evenings at the bowling alley playing video games, and they often swung by  the Taco Bell I was working at to help me close (and dispose of leftovers). To this day, I couldn't tell you anything about their politics or if they had any interest in sports. I just remember hanging out and talking about ideas as only you can in the context of SF. Years later when I watched a clip of Rod Serling discussing SF as a social medium, I really understood my attraction to it. In SF, you can deal with subject matter in a less threatening context and really get down to the essence of an issue. This was probably my first step towards a lifetime of fascination with phenomenology.
I lost track of Terry and Mike after a few years - they were a few years ahead of me and I supposed they graduated much earlier than I (me and my seven year plan).
I thought of them often over the years, wondering what became of them. I was pleased to discover, through their obituaries, that they remained lifelong friends, didn't change much, and had families. Their love of SF seemed to grow exponentially, and I could only imagine how they must have lived through the past 40 years with all the innovations in technology and media. Terry's extra middle name was listed as "Orion." I was saddened, though, by the reality that I couldn't reach out to them and let them know about their impact on me those many years ago. Much sadder than I would have expected.  But, after some reflection, I was also pleased by the retroactive awareness that I enjoyed their friendship and that I had a very eclectic group of friends as an 18 year old. I miss my entanglement in that nerdy fellowship. Mike and Terry were two very unique individuals, and very authentic. I would like to be remembered that way myself.