I’m not much of a fan of the holidays. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE spending time with people I love and giving them things to show them how much I can spend on care for them. I am not, however, a fan of the songs, the bogus “War on Christmas”, the pressure to consume both material goods and food in excess, and most of all the enforced good cheer. I especially hate false cheer because I knew a man who was the embodiment1 of honest cheerfulness. Sadly, he unexpectedly died2 last week.

My friend was a light-hearted man who was cheerful in a very Nietzschean way. That is to say that he never had to force humor to the surface. By all outward appearances, he never had to search for an expression of happiness or fight against greedy internal resistance to save it. He had such an abundance of cheer that it simply overflowed from him effortlessly. There was in him a fullness of passion for laughter and generosity and good will.

He wasn’t dishonest about his emotions. I’ve seen him angry. I saw him become extremely serious and protective of his kids. He’s been frustrated and sad, just like all the rest of us. And he never lied about feeling those things. But mostly, he was happy. It was his temperament. It was him. Even at times where others would get upset, shout back, storm off, I only ever saw Mike laugh. And I’ll miss that. Because I’m not like that. I get angry and I lash out. I get sad and the feeling lingers. I am happy and it’s easy to bring me down.

If Mike were here now, he’d be telling me a joke and offering me a drink and bringing my spirits up, because that’s who he was. He didn’t feel compelled to change others’ attitudes or dismiss their honest feelings in that way that people who can’t deal with strong negative emotions do. It just wasn’t in him to bridle his exuberance for life. He was the spirit of this season. His cheer wasn’t forced and it didn’t need to be enforced. He was it. It was him. And all of us who knew him drew from his wealth of good will when we needed to refresh our own.

And last week at his memorial service we drank deep at the well, telling funny stories, expressing our anger that he was gone, laughing and crying and feeling a full range of emotions honestly and fully–just like he did. But most of all, we laughed, because it isn’t possible to think of him without doing just that. Even after he’s left us, his memory still overflows with an abundance of good cheer.

Happy holidays, Mike. I love you.


1 Fuck you, James Cameron, you bastard, for ruining the word “avatar.”

2I am also not a fan of the term, “passed away.” Not that there’s anything wrong with the term, I just don’t think it expresses the magnitude of what has really happened or how I feel about it. It’s not you; it’s me.


~ by poǝןɔɐɯ uǝʞɔɐɹq on 22/12/2011.

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