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Posted by jakob187 (22933 posts) -

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.

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#1 Posted by Demoskinos (17326 posts) -

sorry for your loss duder. :(

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#2 Posted by Generic_username (874 posts) -

I don't have any perspective that can be meaningful in any way, as there have been very few deaths in my life.

I wish you well, and I hope things work out okay for Todd in some afterlife somewhere, even though I myself am an atheist.

I know Todd's name and some of his legacy now at the very least. You've done that much, man.

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#3 Posted by zFUBARz (694 posts) -

That sucks.

Can't comment on the loss of him per se, as i never knew the guy but he seems pretty cool from your description.

I can say that the losing people thing does get easier, The big ones will always hurt, family, etc. but most people do seem to gain a sense of perspective about it someday, and then it's never as big of a blow.

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#4 Posted by ViciousBearMauling (2078 posts) -

Thank you for sharing. Sorry for the loss.

I'm now disappointed, the Todd your describe sounds like a one-of-a-kind guy that only comes around once in a long ass while (I'm loving the two D's in his name, by the way). I really wish I knew him. It's sadly rare to find a genuinely fantastic person.

What's the saying? Twice as bright, burns half as long?

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#5 Posted by audioBusting (2520 posts) -

Thanks for sharing, man. It's a shame to have lost such a good person.

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#6 Posted by MegaLombax (457 posts) -

Truly sorry for your loss man. Todd sounds like a wonderful human being.

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#7 Posted by TruthTellah (9809 posts) -

Thank you for sharing a bit of him with us. I'm sorry for your loss. I pray you and his family will find some peace and rest in this difficult time.

Perhaps not in this life, but eventually, I hope I'll get to meet him and enjoy his spirit as you so clearly have.

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#8 Posted by Broomhitches (177 posts) -

People like your friend Todd are a rarity. I know this doesn't sound like much--and it isn't profound--you're lucky to have someone like that in your life, even if it seems like a fleeting moment. But that seemingly fleeting moment probably changed your life for the better.

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#9 Posted by Tireyo (6713 posts) -

Sorry for your loss my favorite rebel.

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#10 Posted by fatalbanana (530 posts) -

First off sorry for your loss I know that's the common thing to say in these situations but do to the fact that were all friendly strangers to you it seems appropriate to at least add that into a comment on a post such as this. Anyway, I just wanted to add my two cents on the concept of the death and what my experience has been with it. I'm 23 and I have thought more about death than probably most in my age range. In the past few years and longer I've had a number of family members pass, five if I'm remembering correctly I was never that close with any of them our family isn't really a close one but it still hits hard. Aside from that I had a fairly rough childhood. Being chronically depressed and I would say mildly suicidal if that makes since (not anymore this was like 10 years ago, I've since got help). So yeah weirdly death has been something I've thought about a lot and to put it mildly its a weird thing. You realize how fragile a human life is and trying to find meaning in life when you experience death like that, to use this term again, its weird. But to be completely cliche its a part of life. The circle spins and all living creatures are caught in its pull. On a more cliche note the one thing death can teach you is how precious it all is and live every day to its fullest. YOLO!

I guess that's really all I had to say I don't know what the point of that was but there you go.

Again, sorry for your loss and if you need to chat there is me and I'm sure at least a few other people on this forum who will listen.

take care. :)

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#11 Posted by Slag (7349 posts) -

My condolences man, he sounded like an amazing soul.

Life is really fragile. Too many of us just disappear like that. A good reminder I suppose to never take the time you have here on earth for granted.

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#12 Posted by jakob187 (22933 posts) -

As if this week can't quit trying to kick me in the nuts with spiked-toed shoes, my girlfriend told me last night that she wants to break up with me. She tried throwing out a lot of things as reasons that I debunked fairly quick because none of it made sense or added up...and then her ex-roommate in Montana called me to let me know that while she was on vacation in Montana, after sending him pictures and shit, she said she wanted to be with him, that I'm some kind of "wrong choice," and that she wants to move to Montana.

Betraying me? Big mistake to make.