A friend who was my hero passed away on September 19th. He was a very special friend as I have blogged in his honor for the past two years. My friend was a high school chum who became a Radiologist and like me made the pilgrimage from South Africa to the USA to pursue his dreams. The last time I saw him face to face was in 1969 when we graduated from High School. I found him via Facebook in 2009 for our virtual 40th high school reunion. He informed me then that he was suffering from Lou Gherig’s disease (ALS) and that he had given up his medical practice and was becoming progressively disabled.
We renewed our friendship and we started to communicate on the phone or via email. He lived in Florida and I live in California. As the disease progressed he could no longer talk and the only way to communicate was by email as he had installed a special device on his computer that allowed him to type using his eyes.
Two years ago on the Jewish New Year, I informed all my friends in an email that I would cease to blog at GreenExplored.com as I was hitting my head against a wall and that energy policy in the USA was being corrupted by special interests. My friend with ALS typed an email with his eyes and stated that one of the few things he continued to enjoy was to read my blog. By this time he was quadriplegic and yet he was still as sharp as a tack and his emails were as articulate and brilliant as he ever was. His mind was still crisp as bell although his body was failing him. Of course I emailed back to him that I would blog for as long as he was alive and that each blog would be in his honor.
Each time I blogged he would email me with questions about the science behind my blog and challenge me with tons of brilliant questions as to why I had formulated an opinion or why I had answered something in a certain way. He also continued to play championship level bridge using his computer and proxy players as his designated human hand to play the hand for him. He wrote essays on religion, life, family, friends, radiology, and politics. He shared many thought with me and others as he bravely watched his body wither. Of all the friends in our high school class he was the kindest, sweetest, and most humble soul. He was slight of frame but vast in mind, bravery and soul. He was the mensch of our class.
He wrote of simply being dealt a bad hand but he would play the hand with the ultimate finesse to get the most out of his life that would be cut short by a horrible disease. He asked me back in 2009 to inquire at Genentech where I then worked if any miracle drugs for ALS were being investigated. Sadly I had to report to him that we had no miracle phoo phoo dust. He said he was not in pain but simply uncomfortable. He last communicated with me on September 9 to comment on my blog about Obama’s acceptance speech. I guess he was too weak to comment on my September 15 blog on the terrible events on 9 11 2012.
He is at peace now and I still am pained. I am pained by his death. I am pained by the state of the US economy. I am pained by the hatred the world has for America, Israel and the West in general. I am pained by shysters pretending to be green when they are gangrene opportunists preying on a weak and naïve government. I am pained by a lack of real leadership in either of the two presidential candidates. I am pained by my own old weary bones climbing stairs in our multistory empty nest.
I do not know if I should continue to blog now that my friend has passed and can no longer read my rantings? I beseech you all to let me know if I should continue to blog? I know my friend’s life was full of purpose with his display of bravery, amazing friendship, and the legacy of his children. I need another hero or set of heroes to honor with these blogs on GreenExplored or I will simply fold my tent, hang up my cleats, and let Al Gore, Steven Chu, Arnie, and the Bloom Box claim victory.
I have news for you all. I will be back and stronger next week and won’t let these fools prevail. As long as I can operate a computer even if only with my eyes I will challenge those that choose to disobey the laws of thermodynamics. My friend will be buried on Sunday. All of you who read this blog please pause for a moment and salute him for living a life as fully as was possible, and use his example to live your lives fully and with your eyes wide open.