We met as freshman at the U of I back in '83. We shared the same dorm floor. I'm not sure how we became friends. He was a staunch conservative, active in the College Republicans, a.k.a. Hitler Youth, trying to get Reagan re-elected in '84. Once in awhile I'll see some conservative douchebag on the Sunday morning news shows nowadays and see a familiar name of someone he had hung out with back in the days. His political views made him less than popular in the dorm, and his premature balding earned him the nickname "Snakehead." Nonetheless we became friends maybe because of our mutual love of Illini football or perhaps he was a circus-mirror reflection of some of my conservative beliefs.
He flunked out of engineering school sometime around junior year. It could have been due to his parents divorce or his over-focus on College Republican activities. He managed to finish at a different school, however, and eventually went on to law school. The last time we really talked he was doing "Saul"-type legal work. I don't know if he ever went beyond basic non-trial law, but he seemed to be happy making money at it.
He provided a nice patch in my life's quilt. We went to Europe together in '95 and spent a couple of weeks racking up 7,000km on our rental car as we toured France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden. He loved auto racing and looked forward to trying his luck on the Autobahn. Unfortunately he learned a new German word, stau, which means "traffic jam." He only got above 100 a few times. We also almost drowned on a rain-swollen river in Illinois as we canoed down one of the most challenging rivers in the state (not saying much, it being Illinois, but like I said, it almost killed us). I should also mention our love for the video game M.U.L.E. which he found somewhere with no instructions. We spent many nights figuring it out and playing into the wee small hours. So, farewell, dear friend, I shall miss you. I'm sorry we didn't have more time together.