Thursday, August 17, 2006

blaspheming the dead

greg called me last night and left a voice message. "this is greg. i know you're in virginia, but there is something i need to tell you. call me as soon as you get this message." the voice was somber and lacking greg's normal ebullient revolutionary tone. it was one of those messages that you knew meant bad news. it was one of those messages that left you wondering who was dead.

"lawrence died over the weekend in a motorcycle accident."

since hearing these words last night, i've been trying to figure out the best way to eulogize him. i realized tonight that i'd do it how he'd want it done - irreverant, honest, sarcastic, and potentially offensive.

lawrence was several things. most of all, lawrence was an ass. specifically, an asshole. he was occasionally full of shit and you could count on him to let one out and offend everyone in the room. whether it was about the size of his penis or his exuberant chauvinism, lawrence always had something to say that would bring out laughter in anyone, no matter how wrong or offensive it might be.

when i first heard how he had died, it made sense. in a sick and twisted way, i thought to myself: of course. he died the way he lived. lawrence was reckless. it's who he was. had it been colon cancer or a battle with the west nile virus, it wouldn't have been lawrence's death. it wouldn't have rang true to his story.

i first met lawrence a few years ago in my philosophy of religion class. i was a newbie to philosophy and i didn't know him much then. he disappeared from the class with a few weeks left. the next semester he was in my deductive logic class. he disappeared from that class as well. i've had several more classes with him since then, and to be honest, i don't know if i've ever seen him finish a class. he's explained to me several times how he's managed to stay on top of things nonetheless and edge ever close to graduating, but i still couldn't figure it out.

somebody once threw up on lawrence's bike. the same bike that got him killed. it was during a party with a bunch of drunken philosophers, professors, and students. the next week lawrence came into class irrate. "does anyone know who the fuck puked on my bike?!?" these words were mixed with a sarcastic anger and fervently twisted side of jest that only lawrence could pull off. we all laughed.

this is all just a bunch of rambling. i don't know if you could really talk about lawrence without rambling. as i write this, different memories flash across my mind. his open reading of george bataille's story of the eye at a phi sigma tau gathering. the quick glances over his shoulders before telling his karen mizell story. his love of drinking. his love of women... or was that his love of sex. humorous and embellished stories. behind all of this though was a lawrence that you couldn't describe or put into words. as i try to write this i realize more and more how impossible it is to adequately describe him. more than just a person, more than just a friend, lawrence was an experience. he defied description and was far bigger than any box someone could put him in.

his absence hasn't hit me yet. it probably won't until class begins in a week and i realize that there is something missing. if he hasn't completely ceased to exist and is looking down from heaven [or more likely grinning from hell], i hope he realizes how many lives he has affected. . . even if it is just this one.


  1. thanks, loyd. this is how i like remembering lawrence, too. i was telling errin yesterday that he was such a great asshole. the asshole you hated to love, but loved, nonetheless. my favorite memories of us involve he and i fighting, usually with me storming away. if there's one thing that guy could do, it was clear a room. he and i used to "scope chicks" together. my choices would inevitably be curvy. the joke with lawrence was we could get a 14 year old boy to put on a blonde wig, and from 100 feet, lawrence would want to do her(him)...i was there the first night he got drunk. he puked all over. that bike business was payback. he and i had a similar approach to school. there were so many semesters where it was a challenge of who would stay in class longer during the semester. i'm going to miss him.

  2. i finally came across his obituary which can be found here.
    reading it struck some reality into me of his death. it's always an unsettling feeling when you realize that someone just isn't anymore.

  3. "Ten from a far, but far from a ten." God, he was such an ass. The last time I saw him was at the end of spring semester, we had just gotten back from beer lunch thursday and misty had left for class and we had all of the chairs pushed around that last classroom on the hall. He kept yelling "Oral pleasure" to try and get someone to turn their head around. "God, did you see her whip her head around! She know's what I'm talking about! She's embarassed, don't be embarassed, bah mormon girls." He couldn't ever recreate that experience with that one girl from the english department.

    We were discussing something and his daughter called. Ian said something revolting about children when Lawarance got off the phone and Lawarance was like, "Easy man, I just got off the phone with my daughter. I need to get in character for her." His mom and his daughter were the only two women he really cared about. Not his mother, his mom. Two nights ago I went to sleep screaming, "He had a fucking daughter."

    The funeral was nice. There was still alot of unresolved stuff in the family. I found out he sponsered a third world child. It's funny, I don't know if they knew why he did it, but I remember exactly how that fits. He and Ian were arguing about killing babies (what else) and Lawrance was all, "I've got to admit the conclusions of singer are really wacky, but he starts with really simple premises and he just works em out. I'm not saying you necessarily agree with them, but they're pretty convincing." Ian was all, "No they aren't." I remember the tone of his voice really well. Clearly, since this is how I remember it. He got really serious and he said quietly, "Well... they're convicing to me I guess." That's how figured out why he would support a third world child, it's one of Singer's arguments. I thought it was strange he felt so strongly about that.

    Jared was wondering how Lawrance was going to pay off his student loans. Three nights ago, I was drunk and screaming it wasn't supposed to be like this.

  4. i missed him today. well, really it was wed. when marcus said something about parmenides in ancient, that his use of "the goddess" and Neccessity might be a brief respite from the complete chauvanism of philosophy, particularly the greeks. i told marcus it couldn't be, at the very least those aren't flesh/blood women...i realized today, in a discussion with b., that i wished lawrence was there to argue with me.
    i still feel like i'm going to see him at a pst meeting or something and this stupidstupidstupid accident never happened.

  5. I don't know if anyone will read this or even remember who I am but I need to share my sentiment, even if it is a year later because I didn't know this happened until today. This is Steve Hall. I didn't know because when I left for New York Lawrence and I agreed to not keep in touch because it just wouldn't be the same from far away. I promised I'd drop him a line when I came to town again. Looks like that's not going to happen.

    I always had the sense that no one really got Lawrence very well. I believed he was an asshole on the outside because he knew that if you were there being his friend that you really were his friend. If he could show you all there was to be seen about him without any cover up and you didn't like him, that was your problem. I will miss him. I agree with your observation that he died like he lived: reckless. But, God, I loved him for that. That's all I can say. He was a real friend to me at a time when I really needed him to be. Thanks for reading.


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