Things I should be doing

Things I should be doing:

my taxes, dammit
cleaning up the stack of books and bills next to my computer on the dining room table
cleaning anything in my house
walking my dog
supervising the kids’ Spanish tutorial


People I used to know

Scott Brooke died in 2005. I just found out about it this week.

It’s odd — very, very odd — to be my age and find out that one’s contemporary died five years ago. Certainly, accidents do happen, but it’s not expected.

For the many of you reading this who don’t know who Scott Brooke was, I went to high school with him. (This is a different Scott from the Scott Swanson I went to high school with, who died earlier this year.) After we graduated, I came to Minnesota for college, and so did Scott. He went to St. John’s, a couple hours north of the Twin Cities. I saw him pretty frequently. He would drive down for weekend visits to Minneapolis’s gay bars, where he would enjoy the benefits that come from being young, gay, and gorgeous.

After a year or so, maybe two, Scott left St. John’s and moved to Minneapolis. Where his life took a turn for the interesting. Suffice it to say that the closest I ever came to snorting heroin was in an apartment Scott shared with an older gay prostitute, who offered to score us some.

Scott was the friend I came out to. I called him one night from my dorm room, in tears at the realization that not only was I not straight, not only did I like girls that way, but that I had been not straight all along. This required some radical and humiliating reconsideration of my life and relationships since age thirteen. I called Scott, and he picked me up, and we spent the next five hours in a Perkins restaurant, talking. We didn’t have enough money with which to tip the waiter, so we wrote him an ode on the back of a placemat.

I lost track of Scott when I left the country in 1996. When I got back I tried looking him up, but couldn’t easily find him. And, you know, things occurred. I was different, I was absorbed in my own life, and I didn’t try that hard. This is all perfectly normal and reasonable, and is only tinged with wincing tragedy by the fact of his death. Since Scott Swanson’s memorial earlier this year I’ve gotten back in touch with a number of people I haven’t spoken to in years. Over a decade, at least. And all of those people, obviously, have been alive. There wasn’t really a reason to expect that Scott Brooke would be dead.