My friend Jake once decided, for a reasonably decent period of time, to do only what TV and GAP commercials told him to do. He dressed in only wool sweaters and khakis. He wore dress-casual leather boots. He put gel in the front of his hair and spritzed himself with a very sensible amount of designer fragrance. He gave himself over to this way of life, wholeheartedly, beyond all of the antiestablishment proclivities he once, and actually still, had.
I watched his transformation. While the idea of what he was doing seemed horrifying to me, it would be an absolute distortion of the truth to claim that it didn’t work very well for him. He was at ease for never having to make a decision of his own. His cares were fewer. He was, maybe for the first time, even when not self-medicating with any number of legal and illegal substances, outwardly relaxed. And the honest to fuck truth of it was, this was the best he’d looked, carried himself, and smelled since I’d known him. He was positively radiant, and he was no less himself than he had ever been or ever would be.
Regardless of the extreme extent that he allowed the world to influence him, he remained my friend Jake, just as he always had, just as he always will. When I think about him, which is (not surprisingly) often, this will be who I speak to. This will be the friend who resides in my conscience, responding as Jake would in every scenario, guiding me, at times even against my better judgment, to be the person I am now, the person who is succinctly different than the person I was when we met because his influence is now just as much a part of me as any piece of my innate mind. I’ve missed him for longer than he has been gone. This world of people who haven’t been fortunate enough to know him may never understand what it has lost, but I will miss him enough for all of them.
For his other friends and family, I am devastated for your, for all of our loss.
Love you, Jakey