I am a pretty good friend, and he was a great one. I talked to him almost everyday on my walk to work and my walk home. I don't make calls on those walks anymore and I feel a bit of sadness everyday.
I am not even sure how to delete his number from my phone and am not sure I would even want to because it is a reminder of the great conversations though also a reminder that that kind of conversing may be over in my life.
We talked politics, everything from Bush to Plato's Republic. We talked music, particularly jazz.
We talked women and romantic schemes. He was quite old (75 when he passed), but I did not want to see him end up alone. It did not seem right as he had always had the confidence to pick up woman and knew a vast array of things. He tod me about the law of averages, ask 100 girls out and at least one would say yes. Statistics, though, don't account for the lovely wife that passed a decade and a half before he did. He really cared for her, sometimes a tear would come to his eye in coversation, and he would remark, Man I miss my wife.
We talked a lot about movies. My obsession is Warren Beatty. His was Clint Eastwood. He was always quick to defend an Eastwood picture, claiming even Trouble With the Curb was a masterpiece. But he was an enthusiastic audience, and that is a great thing. Movie houses and movie makers deserve no less.
I remember taking him to Transylmania, one of the dumbest comedies I have seen and we laughed all the way through.
Sadly, did not go to the cinema much with him, wish I had a little more. He tended to talk through pictures with got on my nerves sometimes.
Even the greatest people have qualities that can piss you off.
The last film he saw in a theater was All is Lost. He liked Redford's rugged, solitary figure almost as much as he liked Eastwood, and that character is probably best displayed in All is Lost, even more so than Downhill Racer or Jeremiah Johnson.
We know little about the man, but we care. His troubles are immediate though the film has a deliberate pace. Many tragedies happen over the course of days and within them we have a lot of time to think on them.
One thing not deliberately paced though is the storm sequence.
We can marvel that a man of Redford's age could be tossed around in tanks and under extreme conditions. It is a tremendous form of acting that he pulls off here. He toughs out everything ends up on a raft. He is not a perfect sailor. He manages to surivive for eight days. The ending is ambigous. He seems as though he is about to end his life. He looks to the skies and jumps in the water. A small boat comes up and reaches in for him. This seems ambigous because the rescue boat seems too small. The hand that grabs him in the water seems too far in the water.
I thought maybe he had died, and the hand of God came to grab him. I am no more a believer than William Bunker. He was an athiest of the highest order. He rejected my ending idea. He said the boat was fine sizewize and Redford was coming out enough to be grabbed .He added that he survived because it was a great hopeful ending.
I, however, found some hope in the idea that God came to reach for him. And with my friend gone, I find this idea more hopeful than ever.
I am not sure when my pal will be buried. His family is having a private memorial, and since I have never met his family, I am not invited. I wrote a eulogy and would like to share it here:
Bill was my best friend. We spoke almost every day.
The worst thing I could say about him was that he talked during movies
But at least he talked intelligently about them, point out, for instance,
scientific inconsistencies about Alien vs Predator.
I met him at Modesto Junior College where intellect is in short supply.
He was made for late in life education. He could argue well with teachers
and flirt with pretty freshmen, claiming, like Jack Benny used to, he
was only 45.
I knew he was not 45 but only because he made the mistake of showing
me his transcripts once that had his date of birth on them. Earlier this week,
I googled him and the site mylife.com come up claiming he was ten years
younger than he was. He would have loved that.
After college, he was the one intellectual aspect of it I kept in my life.
I was in awe of him sometimes and honestly thought all the stuff he wanted to be
teacher, spaceman, cowboy was possible for him.
I think the best thing you can say about a person is that they seemed capable
of anything. Bill seemed capable of anything. I will miss him everyday.