Thursday, May 14, 2020

Reggie

I wasn't sure how or if I should even write this today... and to be completely honest, right now I'm not sure I'll ever hit "publish" on this piece.  Just really need to get some of my thoughts and feelings out regarding the loss of my friend and partner-in-crime for the past near half-decade, Karl (Reggie).

This past Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, he passed in hospital from complications from congestive heart failure.  I try to keep "real life" out of this space as best as possible, and just keep on keepin' on... but, right now... I'm at a real loss.  The idea of writing about a comic book and rushing off to share it on social media... it feels meaningless, ya know?  Even more meaningless than usual.

Reggie, although we never got the opportunity to meet face-to-face, is the person I've probably spent the most time with over the past several years, besides my wife.  We talked a lot, we worked closely together to create some of the deepest-researched stuff we could.  Much of our content was completely scripted, just to ensure we delivered the facts... some of those scripts, for a 60-90 minute program, were hundreds of pages.  The joke we'd always make was... our script for Crisis on Infinite Earths was longer than... Crisis on Infinite Earths (and it actually was!).  We took great pride in what we did... and, devoted a lot of time to it.  Time we spent... together.  Countless hours occupying the same Google Doc, while running Twitter DMs or a Skype call in another tab.  Bouncing ideas off of one another, filling in each other's blanks, just shooting the breeze... it was magic.

I first "met" Reggie... and I remember the date, which is weird.  It was December 5, 2015.  My wife had a Christmas party at a friend's house... a friend who lived about an hour and a half away.  The plan was that she'd catch a ride out to the party... and later that night, around midnight... I'd pick her up.

Knowing I would have such a long drive ahead of me, I thought it would be a good idea to take a podcast with me.  We didn't have unlimited data, so I would have to download the shows on WiFi to make sure they were actually on my phone before heading out.  I was in a current-year DC Comics mood... was trying to play catch up, and so... I found myself coming across the blog of the Weird Science DC Comics Podcast.  I decided to download them.

Man, even sharing this story doesn't feel right.  This really isn't "about me"... I'm still just trying to process this... and tell a story in writing that I don't think I can get through verbally.

In listening to this program... I was surprised that it was so long.  Back then, it was probably a 3-4 hour show.  As I sat outside my wife's friend's house that night, the hosts Jim and Eric they sent to another segment.  A segment that was introduced by a few moments of classical music... which would morph into a hip-hop beat.  This was Reggie's Recklessness.

It couldn't have been more than five minutes, but it was so tonally different than everything I'd heard before it... it couldn't help but to stand out as something special.  Whereas the "main" show was sort of unserious/a little silly... this segment felt completely different.  Not only in subject matter, but with Reggie's booming baritone almost lyrically leading you into whatever he was discussing on a given week.

Reggie's Recklessness would become a real highlight for me, I devoured the back-catalog and I would look forward to it every week... never, in my wildest imagination, would I ever believe this man was going to become my partner-in-content-creation just a handful of months later.

Maybe I'll share more stories soon... I just don't know.

I last spoke to Reggie on Monday morning (probably noon EST).  First thing he did was apologize for missing our call on Saturday.  He told me he was back in the hospital with pneumonia.  He was excited to get home... and said the Doctors had given him the all-clear to go home on Wednesday or Thursday.

Considering every hardship he had gone through over the course of this past year... an aortic dissection last May, the resulting loss of his mobility, and loss of several months... to his stroke on Christmas Day... he was much more optimistic than I would've been in the same position... at least when we spoke, he was optimistic.  He'd overcome so much.

He was always talking about what was "next" for the Chris and Reggie channel.  I always assured him that the channel wasn't going anywhere... it would always be there, whenever he was ready.  We had big plans... even to our last conversation.  As we speak, I still have a Google Doc up in another tab, with the outline for our next episode... that I just can't bring myself to close.

Our last conversation on Monday was cut a bit short, as a Doctor came in to speak with him.  The last thing I said to him was "Talktoyasoon, brother..."

If you've ever talked with me one-on-one (digital or real life), it'd become apparent very quick that I call everyone "brother".  Today, it feels as though I've actually lost one.

Don't take those close to you for granted.  I am blessed to have had the opportunity after his recovery last year to tell him how important he is to me... how much I respected him... how much I wished I could be more like him.  Make sure the people you care about... know that you care.  I am extremely lucky that I was able to.  If I hadn't, I'd probably be even more of a wreck right now.

Thank you for everything, Karl.  For your friendship... for the belly laughs... for everything.  This still doesn't feel real.  Will it ever?

I miss you, brother.



14 comments:

  1. Theres no words that can make this any easier I know.

    Great tribute to your friend. The work that you guys did will stand the test of time. I always talked to you about making content that's evergreen and that's exactly what the Treadmill was.

    The 1 -2 punch, The Batman and Robin..The Laurel and Hardy..that was Chris and Reggie and it was magic.

    Reggie will be missed. Life will somehow go back to normal...but for this little moment in time you guys got to do something special..together.

    Thoughts and Prayers to his family..and to you brother.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, brother. I've waited a bit over a week before revisiting the comments section here... wasn't really sure how or if I ought to respond. I'm feeling like I'm finally beginning to accept this... and I sincerely appreciate all of your kindness and thoughts.

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  2. I know this was hard for you to share but thank you for sharing it. You described something that people often take for granted when in fact such a relationship, such a connection is quite valuable and rare. What you wrote here for your friend was well said and I am grateful that you said it here today.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Reggie's family.

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    1. Thank you, Dave. I apologize for my delay in addressing your comment. Just haven't felt up to revisiting this post. It feels like it's been both five-minutes and a hundred-years since I wrote it. Very odd.

      This loss has definitely given me an appreciation for what I have... and I will endeavor to let those around me know how much they mean to me. It's all too easy to let time slip away... seems to only happen quicker, the older we get.

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  3. So sorry to hear this sad news, Chris. Your post is a beautiful and sincere tribute to your friend.

    My thoughts and sympathies are with you seems Reggie's family.

    I hope the happy memories of Reggie will comfort you in the days ahead.

    Stay strong.

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    1. Thank you, Dave. I have been trying to immerse myself in happy memories over this past week... and, I must say, it's been very helpful. It has allowed me to stop solely mourning a loss... and, instead, celebrating what I had.

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  4. I didn't know Reggie, and I don't even really know you. But your post today deeply moved me. I thank you for sharing your loss with us.
    There are probably no words that can console you now but as time moves forward I encourage you to not be sad because he is gone but rather be happy that you were lucky enough to have known him. He enriched your life and in turn you enrich ours.

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    1. Those are very true words, Chris. Thank you. All that's left right now are memories... but, they were good ones! Ones that will stay with me, and inform various parts of my life.

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  5. Oh Chris, I wish there were some way to say "Thank you" enough for the content you and Reggie have provided over the last several years. Thank you for writing this tribute to him as well. Prayers and much love across the airwaves to you and his family and friends. Your duo was indeed one of the hooks that got me into the the Weird Science DC podcast, as you both appreciated and had a lot of fun with the more off-beat titles. Then the Cosmic Treadmill channel, and your spinoff solo interest shows... so much great content! I always laugh when I hear you two doing the funny voices in your read throughs. I remember Reggie would have the great "Covers of the Week" posts on the Weird Science DC blog. It really got me thinking about and appreciating what made good covers every week. I looked up to, and I still look up to you both. Your endless enjoyment and loving mockery of comics could not be beat. I learned of Angel Love and Lady Cop, the ins and outs of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the steamy fanfic scenes of writer Devyn Grayson, and the virtues of PSA comics. The commentary is equal in value to the history and research you both did for every episode. My sincerest condolences to you Chris, and I look forward to everything you have yet to bring to comic fandom. Peace, brother.

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    1. Hello Nicholas, I apologize for my delay in reply. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments!

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  6. I really thought when I saw the title of this post that you'd changed things up yet again and started covering Archie Comics.

    Damn, I wish that were the case.

    A truly moving and heartfelt tribute, Chris. My sincere condolences.

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    1. Thank you, Matthew. I wish that were the case as well!

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  7. Michael Alan CarlyleMay 15, 2020 at 12:11 PM

    Like you, I found Reggie's stuff on WSDCP so different and amazing. Like you I became an instant fan. Like you I recognized and respected Reggie's professionalism and commitment to the craft of podcasting and the hobby of collecting.

    Unlike you my interactions with Reggie was painstakingly brief and though I know I fully gave him the "get better soon because I miss your content" I never got to tell him how much I looked up to him and wanted to be like him. Both of you, in fact.

    Reggie could not have had a better partner. We will all miss him greatly. To all of his friends and family, my heartfelt sympathy.

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