Goodbye, David

David Rakoff

I was laid off in September 2008 after moving across the country for my dream job. My family was experiencing great personal strife (kids in one state, parents in another), and I was without the means to provide for anyone who depended on me. If you know me, you understand that I’ve just laid myself bare. No job. Kids hurting. No readily apparent means by which I could improve the situation. Dark days.

Five days a week, I would get up and work at my new job… which was finding a new job. In between driving to meetings, sending out resumes, and searching the Web for any possible opening was one small thing that kept me sane. From WBEZ Chicago, This American Life, hosted by Ira Glass. I listened to one show a day from the radio archives. Thank God I found work before I ran out of archive radio shows.

One of the voices that reached me was David Rakoff’s. He shared his wit, his wisdom, his quirky sense of justice. As a straight man, I lived vicariously through him as he came out to himself as a gay person on an Israeli chicken farm. I enjoyed his prose. I got to know him. He laid himself bare, and I am a better human because of him.

It’s funny how we build these one way “relationships” with public personalities. The sense of irony is not lost on me here. I don’t know who will read these words, but I am exposing a part of myself to you. You are getting to know me. It’s personal, but it’s like looking through a one-way mirror. Unless you post a comment below, this is just you getting to know me, kind of like how I got to know David.

David passed away on August 9. He never knew how much he and the team at This American Life meant to me during the most stressful time of my life. This American Life put out a show in tribute to David last week, and I finally got the chance to listen to it on the way home from work today.

If you live in New England, and saw a guy crying in an old BMW after the evening rush hour, that was me.

David, thank you. My life is better because of you.

All my love,

James

 

Photo by Creative Commons copyright via Pop!Tech and Kris Krüg – all rights reserved by the original photographer.

Comment Policy: Unless you've received special dispensation (you know who you are), you must use your real name. We're all friends here, so if you want to be "Ron the plumber," that's cool, but you can't be "Best Plumber." See the comment policy for more.

Leave a Comment

*