It’s hard to choose a single story. Plus, his parents could see this, and there’re things I wouldn’t want mine to know if the tables were turned – edit this as you’d feel appropriate. In the aggregate, let’s just say awesome, sometimes serendipitous things happened when you were around him.
There was Chicago, where I was a younger-than-usual intern with a bad fake ID (statue of limitations has to be up by now) that ended up working nowhere except the grocery store liquor aisle. And yet, my first week in the city, when I ditched the rest of my intern class to hang out because he was in town for Accenture training, it worked in line at Rockit Bar on West Hubbard.
There was Kabin bar, where we went for a comedy show. He was between apartments and crashing with a friend in Brookyln, so he had to leave early, but when Hannibal Burress showed up on stage for a surprise set, he blew off the curfew. He crashed on my couch, and in exchange, we both enjoyed a bit about Bill Cosby that’d blow up the Internet two weeks later.
But most importantly to me, there was my first real house party, which he invited me to (who does that? Invite a gawky, awkward, wide-eyed freshman to a house party?). There, he introduced me to lifelong friends, and gave me front row (lawn?) seats to two of those friends drunk boxing each other on Washtenaw. He handed me a pair of boxing gloves a minute later, with which I sparred his much-taller, much-stronger roommate, and the next morning, the liquor he’d soaked me in handed me my first five-alarm hangover. What he really handed me was a taste of what college could be, and a sample of the joie de vivre with which he approached life.