Saturday, October 21, 2017

The time has begun...

When college alumni magazines show up these days, it is normal now to look at the "In Memoriam" page to see if any classmates show up.  In the undergraduate college magazine received a few days ago, an acquaintance was listed.

George was a close friend of Scott, a somewhat unreliable member of a large group of friends that was frequently together.  George and Scott were similar in some ways, mainly in their lack of attention to how they affected others.  After college they went to Europe together, but after crashing their two motorcycles into each other on a Paris street shortly after buying them, and dumping them into the Seine for insurance purposes, they hitchhiked across Turkey, Iran, and into Afghanistan.  No ordinary Europe tour for them.  Is this true?  Yes I believe so as Scott returned with a photograph of the two of them after having ridiculous haircuts on a street corner in Kabul.  He told me with a tone of amazement that "that is no law there at all.  It's just chaos."   

I knew that George had become a successful orthopaedic surgeon for sports injuries and rehab, and that he lived in his hometown area around New Canaan, CT.   I had last seen him maybe twenty years ago, maybe more, at the second or third marriage of a college friend.  Somehow George shared a cab with Kathy and myself to a reception, and George proceeded to say condescending and insulting things to the Pakistani cab driver during the entire ride.  It was embarrassing and I tried unsuccessfully to distract him.  That was George, as it all came back to me that had he always enjoyed doing things like that, harassing people in an arrogant way.  He could be precisely cutting, in words but no doubt in surgery as well.

His unexpected death was apparently from a devastating melanoma discovered too late.  Since he knew that he was dying it seems like he wrote his own obituary as I read, "Other interests included playing polo which he had learned from a French cavalry officer in the Belgian countryside, 18th century French antique auctions where he was known to outwit dealers in his fluent French, finding bargains at flea markets, and ruffling feathers."  "Ruffling feathers!"  Has ever an obituary ever been so accurate while perhaps being tongue in cheek at the same time. 

I noted from the obituary that he started a family in his mid-thirties, had been married to a fellow Georgetown grad for 42 years, and they had three sons.  The youngest, who would be 25 now, lives in Austin --- watch out Alex.  Condolences from here, though I doubt that any of you will ever see this, so I say ---  He was too ornery to die so young. 


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