My friend David stood behind his father's casket today, flanked by his mother and wife, and I listened to him talk about how his father would not be there to see him become a father himself. I was reminded that my own parents wouldn't be witness to that part of my life, either, should Devon and I have a child. Then I reminded myself not to be a dick. David's loss is something special unto itself, and this is not about me. But it's difficult not to see my own life reflected in the lives of my friends. Sheldon lived across the street from my house while I was growing up. He was an older Dad, like mine. David and I would do the goofy crap kids do, like whoop and holler over video games, and he would look on, bemused, then turn back to the quiet predictability of his book or newspaper. He was also my dentist. He would shove dental equipment into my mouth, then ask me questions that required complete sentences to answer, like, "How do you feel about the philosophical differences between capitalism and socialism?" And I'd answer something like, "Garble garble rawr rawr rohk," because that's what political discourse sounds like when you have a mouth full of crap and are high on nitrous.
Also, he was pretty awesome -- the kind of quiet awesome that sometimes gets lost in the din of more flamboyant personalities but is sorely missed when it's gone.
P.S. As far as I remember, he never asked me about socialism. But I was high as a kite, so I wouldn't remember. For all I know, he was asking me which Smurf I would doink in the back of a pickup truck if I had the chance.
P.S.S.: Papa Smurf. No question.