So this blog post is a bit of an oldie. I originally wrote it last January but felt since it’s been three years since Dave passed, I might as well share it again:
As I lay on my couch watching a marathon of Season 4 of The Office on Netflix, the only thing seeming to stop me from continuing on to Season 5 was the extraordinary amount of pain erupting in my stomach. Before I was able to reach the afternoon hours, I had become best friends with the toilet down the hall. Regular trips to vent and purge everything wrong inside of me were truly hampering my ability to enjoy the shenanigans of Dwight and Michael while enjoying Pam and Jim’s romance. It was the second day of a three-day food-induced sickfest. An actual sick day, unlike the usual ones where it was more considered a mental health daywhere the majority of it was spent playing Guitar Hero in my underwear until the evening hours.
A mere forty-eight hours earlier was like any other Sunday at the time. Work emails were piling up; the stress from working for over a month straight without a day off was tearing away at not only my sanity, but my ability to think straight for more than a few minutes at a time. My friends and I decided that the only necessary fix to this situation, naturally, was chips and salsa with a cup of melted cheese on the side, provided by a local Mexican restaurant a short car ride away.
The first red flag about my impending sick day should have been the family of cockroaches making their way across the back patio from the door that led to the kitchen. But I looked past this tiny observation because it was a nice and sunny day in the early stages of March with children running around, parents ignoring them by staring into their phone screens, and lovely coeds parading around in colorful sundresses. God bless sundresses. I cleverly pulled my sunglasses over my eyes to not only look a bit more mysterious, but because being the gentleman that I am, I took the seat that was directly facing the sun, allowing my lovely friends the shady spots and no doubt about to burn the hell out of my forehead and singeing the already receding hairs atop my head.
The second red flag, probably the most important one of all, was the clump of clay the “melted” cheese had become after a few short minutes of it being delivered to our table. When you’re still in the stage of feeling invincible in life and nothing can do you harm, you tend to look past the clump of cheese clay and not worry about the effect it’ll have on your organs when the digesting phase of food consumption comes into play. Two pounds of clumped cheese later, it was time to head out, my stomach already performing it’s floor routine as if it was trying out for the Olympic gymnastics team.
Fast forward to two days later. I’m in the midst of my cheese detox, making laps around the house, going back and forth between couch and bathroom, almost certain I should be put in a hospital with a priest on the way. Surely death was making its way down to me. I was waiting for it…that and the episode where Michael tries to be a survivor man and almost eats a wild mushroom.
Instead, I received a phone call I’ll never forget. A good friend and coworker of mine passed away the previous night. Just like that. Finally, the episode I was waiting for came on, but it didn’t matter anymore.
Dave was gone.
It was hard to comprehend. He had just left me a voicemail two days prior and in my cheese-induced vomit session, I had ignored his call, not really wanting to talk to anybody that couldn’t get rid of the horrid pain occurring in my stomach. The next morning, I had thoughtlessly deleted his voicemail without calling him back. To this day I still remember his voicemail.
He was just calling to say hi. That’s all. Nothing major. I wasn’t working on his team anymore (relocated to a different market the previous month) but he still felt the need to check-in and see how I was doing, not knowing I was face-planted into my pillow. I didn’t call him back. To me, it was a phone call I could have returned later that week when it was convenient for me.
Dave is/was one of those people you don’t really forget. I wasn’t as close to him as some others were and I didn’t talk with him everyday. He didn’t love meetings, but when he was obligated to join one, he felt the need to make it last as long as possible, filling the time with random stories about our clients and what they liked, disliked, ate, and read. I hurt my eyes so much listening to him talk sometimes, rolling them to the back of my head as if the act alone would make the phone calls end quicker. I didn’t have an appreciation for the type of person he was and the impact he would have on me.
I was stupid, what did I know?
The passing of Stuart Scott a few days ago didn’t really hit me until the special on SportsCenter was aired later that night, sharing stories about how he had impacted both his colleagues at ESPN and people around the country throughout the sports world. Dave was very similar to Stuart Scott in the way people viewed him throughout GolfNow and the golf courses he worked with.
I was lucky enough to be a part of his team for about a year and a half. He welcomed me aboard the New England team on Day One and always had a way of making sure it didn’t feel like we were 1,200 miles apart. Being in the Orlando office, it was easy to lose that personal touch while only using email, phone calls, or GoTo Meeting on a daily basis.
Not with Dave.
I have a greater appreciation for the people in my life because of him. People I may talk to each week or once a year, I try and appreciate each moment with them as if it would be the last correspondence we share. I hate when I am unable to return a text message or phone call as soon as I possibly can.
I will forever remember those few days in March 2013. The Mexican restaurant (I believe) is no longer in business. I no longer can stomach cheese dip unless it is in a liquid, not a solid, state. I will also remember what losing a good friend feels like, someone who was always a text message or phone call away. He taught me to appreciate those around me everyday. His passing taught me to never take a moment or person for granted, not even heated cheese dip.