This past weekend, I was given the information that a good friend and one of my former co-workers passed away. His name was Todd. Well, his name was actually Walter Todd Courtney (triple first names are a threat, eh?), but everyone knew him as Todd. The blow hit hard. Very hard.
Death is not something that comes upon my life very often. As I grow older, and with Todd's passing, I realize that I'm 32 next month...so this is going to start becoming more common. It's the thing that no one tells you when you grow up, no book explains to you, and most of us never really think about: once we reach a specific age, death starts becoming far more commonplace in your life.
Enough about how I feel. I'm just a guy that was friends with Todd, that was his boss for some time. The reason I want to write this blog...that I NEED to write this blog...is because I need you as the reader to understand that you will never meet Todd. You will never know this wonderful human being. That's a fucking shame, and I'm sorry.
Todd was a guy that had his demons and his issues, but 90% of the time, that was never the case. Todd was a short, portly man that wore a "Jesus is my Lord" hat, wore simple clothes and a mustache, and wielded a redneck Arkansas accent. If you looked at him, at first glance, you would assume he was the most backwoods redneck imaginable.
He was a classic case of "don't judge a book by its cover."
Yes, he placed his faith in God, and he was a devout Christian. However, he hated organized religion. He was a member of my boss' fellowship, a group of Christians who would meet at random members' homes every Sunday to have service. He thought that organized religion was corrupt and idiotic. As an agnostic, he was always intrigued by how I viewed the world, what I believed in, where I stood on issues. He wanted and craved knowledge. Hell, he's one of the few Christians that I knew who would tell you that he believed homosexuality was a sin and personally disgusting, but that he believed they absolutely had the right to get married since marriage was not exclusively a Christian institution and that it was sad that mankind felt the need to hold any person's rights out of their reach.
He was also wickedly hilarious. He wanted YOU to laugh, YOU to smile, YOU to have joy and happiness in your life. He would crack any joke he could, and his wit was almost thoroughly unmatched by anyone I know, even myself. He was a child of language (as he spoke English, Spanish, El Salvadorian-Spanish, German, and fuck knows what else!), and he would always find a way to twist your words into a laugh. His favorite one was to use the word "decimate" against you. We both worked together at the LAN center, and kids would always talk about how they would "decimate" someone in an online match. He would always use the literal use of the word (to take down by one-tenth), and it was hilarious every time.
He could also be morbidly humorous. He had his raunchy jokes, but it was his clean jokes that were the best. They were always stupid and dumb in that way that clean jokes can be stupid and dumb, but you couldn't help but laugh because his delivery of it would be comedic perfection.
He was an incredible strategist. His favorite video games to play were strategy games, particularly League of Legends, Battle for Middle-Earth II, Command and Conquer, StarCraft II, Company of Heroes, and Faster Than Light. If you played against him, your chances of survival were pretty damn slim...except with League of Legends. He was the one person in our store that mained the support role, and he was using AP Soraka before AP Soraka was cool (I'm talking SEASON ONE)! He had a way of making you think about your decisions like you wouldn't imagine, and he always had some way to blow your mind.
He was also a humble man. Because of his faith, he never believed he was perfect or better than you. He was never someone that acted like he was above you. If you were wrong, he would point it out, correct it, and say "now you know, and I hope it helps you later in life." He never showed hubris.
Todd was 40. He died after a driver side blowout on the highway sent his Chevy S10 pickup rolling over four times onto the access road. It happened no more than two streets away from my parent's house. I hadn't cried yet since I heard the news. As my girlfriend and I drove to my parent's house last night, and we passed the spot where it happened, I saw the skid marks on the highway. It hit, but not with tears. It hit because I remembered a conversation that I had with Todd a few years ago.
I explained to him that I wanted an eventful death, something crazy, weird, or big. I wanted this not because I wanted people to say "that's a cool way to die" or anything else. I wanted this because I WANTED to know that I was about to die. I WANTED to be aware that it was coming. He told me quite simply "I don't want to know, because then it's a seamless transition."
Todd was unconscious after his accident, and he never became conscious again. People made an effort to save him, but to no avail.
It is a goddamn travesty that you will never know this unique, spiritual, and tremendous man. I feel sorrow for his family and friends, many of which I know personally. I feel sorrow for our store, as Todd was to Lansharx as Norm was to Cheers: everybody knew him.
However, the biggest piece of sorrow that I feel is that you will never know him, that you will never experience a five-hour long conversation with the man that you don't want to stop, that you will never feel the encouragement he gave you to become a better version of yourself, and that you will never get to laugh alongside him and experience honest joy and happiness.
The world lost a good one, and it happened way too fucking soon.
His visitation is tomorrow, and I'm more than positive that it will hit then. It always hits for me when that happens. I'll hit my knees, ball uncontrollably, and realize that another fantastic soul is gone.