Sadly, I found out today that my friend Paul Elkins died a couple of weeks ago. I hadn’t heard from him in a couple of weeks, and I think his illness must have been fairly sudden, at least in its discovery and end. He had just started back to school to pursue a degree in information architecture, which he had spoken with me about several times at work in the cubicle that we shared for many months. He had also just bought a house, and seemed really happy about changing things up and starting on a new section in his life. Looking back it’s interesting that I had never really thought about the fact that, despite his biting and sometimes ridiculous sense of humor, when it came to work that he was passionate about, he was dead serious and professional. The same was true with his relationships with friends. If you were his friend, he would do anything for you; on the other hand, those who mistreated him or his friends would get a scathing satirical treatment. I have to say of all the times he made me laugh, probably half were in his response to someone who had been less than respectful to him or his friends.
We had a habit of exchanging ridiculous emails. This past summer I hadn’t heard from him for a while because he had quit his job and decided to avoid the internet and go fishing or something. After a few unreturned emails, I finally got a response with an email with the subject line “Ok, so thanks for the invite to your funeral.” His response was “I decided to take a few months off to travel a bit, play around, and catch up on my episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger.” I’m sure the irony is not lost now (the email subject line, not the Walker, Texas Ranger part). Another couple of typical Paul witticisms:
In an email thread for which current and former coworkers were going to meet for a drink: “Hey guys. Shall we do Fox and Hound? 6:30ish? Hope you can make it – if not, we’re going to tell lies about you.”
And, in an email thread with me regarding what he should do about an alarm system for his new house (after I suggested abducting an angry biker): “Ha… not a bad idea. I also thought about putting a PUBLIC LIBRARY sign in the yard.”
He’ll certainly (of course) be missed.