Thursday, June 21, 2007


I was going to write about pirates and the freedom of the oceans, the land and...well, 'space' in general and far and wide—but instead I'll write a brief epitaph for a gentleman—and I mean 'gentleman'—whom I've met at best a couple of dozen times in the last few years, but who always struck me as that rarity known as a 'truly nice person'.

His first name was Glen, and I withhold the surname for the sake of privacy. He was a practitioner of martial arts, of the jujitsu kind, as well as others, for his skills were numerous. He was maybe 15 years or so younger than I, and he suffered from diabetes, inter alia. You couldn't have told because he was wiry and strong and quick and agile, physically as well as mentally. A few months ago, in March, we did some practice exercises together, when our august visitor from Australia was here for a brief seminar. Glen, as always, exhibited a spirit I find sadly rare, even among those who pride themselves on being just a cut above the rest. Though vastly more skilled in his aspect of the 'martial arts' than I and others attending, and though he came to the seminar to learn from our visitor, he still, at the same time, paid close attention to those he interacted with, and was always respectful of their needs, limitations, and did what he could to help them learn better themselves—sometimes, I suspect, at the cost of whatever benefit he might have derived from being more self-involved; which was what many others did. By the same token, in those disciplines in which he knew others, including me, to have more skills and experience than himself, he accepted tutelage and guidance without the slightest hint of that pride and the ego issues that always seem to lurk with many, no matter how much they try to hide it, and which makes these seminars into occasionally off-putting testosterone fests. Glen didn't pose or posture. I suspect he had no need for it. He struck me as a deeply serious man, who knew what 'responsibility' was. At the same time, he was just a nice guy. I didn't know him well at all, but what I knew was all good.

Just over a day ago, during a training session in his home town, Glen collapsed and died.

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