A mere 30 months ago, I was provided with a diagnosis that came with an 18 month shelf life. Four rounds of lymphoma, three indolent, one insolent, made a few people very nervous (I have to confess, my overall reaction was more one of annoyance, despite the interesting dreams). In prepping for that, this notice was intended to make the Final Announcement, post facto, to prevent any of the drippy platitudes and more maudlin boilerplates from finding their way into print.
It is presented here, in slightly redacted form, to show the tone it intended. So, if one falls upon some such thing with my name affixed to it in some distant future, and it goes on about "being called up" or "at the right side of the Grand Hoo-Hah," such nonsense is far, far from my intent and should be dismissed as just so much faux noise. In fact, if this ever appears, it, too, should be considered faux noise.
The proposed announcement would have run thusly:
"The chemotherapeutically saturated and heavily irradiated container that briefly encapsulated the occasional consciousness of one J--- (aka “Jim,” aka “Stan,” aka “Hey you with the glasses”) ceased to properly function on (-- insert date here -- ). Having outlasted internists, hematologists, oculists, and occultists, he was amazed to the very end that even this handful of time could be consumed so quickly. Altogether, it amounted to ----- years. Crescit eundo.
"A son to --- M--- - both now passed into the sweet breeze of memory - he was born in --- after several false starts, waiting to match the birthday of T-- S-- G-- . Procrastination was to become his hallmark. His final home, --- , proved to be less than an hour from the land of his nativity.
"Graduating among a quintet of over-achievers from --- , he navigated an accelerated maze of pharmacy academe at --- (then a mere College, with lower tuition) before experiencing a career among pharmacies at sites now known only as footnotes, but whose ongoing dramas seemed so important at the time. These pharmacies took him from Detroit to Saugatuck, but predominated in Battle Creek, once known as the nation’s “cereal city,” which he called home for over 40 years.
"Midway in this vocation, he branched out into another, earning a master’s of education, again from --- (by then a University, with higher tuition) and coordinated courses in pharmacology, chemistry, anatomy, and especially, animation, for (insert afflicted colleges here).
"Upon complete retirement from pharmacy, he was able to devote himself full-time to film and
animation, affirming that his earlier preoccupations were mostly a distraction, or as he described it, “Time served.” He remained particularly proud of his association with ASIFA Central, where he served as secretary, archivist, newsletter editor, and helped assemble the chapter’s annual showreel for International Animation Day.
"His early films included educational instruction in organic chemistry and pharmacology – even a brief-lived promotion for the pharmacy program itself – but his animation work is what earned some recognition during the 1970s - 1980s, when such activities were regarded with general suspicion and, on ever-increasingly expensive film stock, difficult to self-finance.
"The Animating Apothecary was created to merge amusement with a fairly staid profession, via calendars and other bric-a-brac, to some success. His radio programming and scripting drew some attention in the 1990s, leading to appearances on A&E Biography
, and later, History’s Mysteries
on PBS. His later work consisted of a series of short Sfumata
– brief explorations of synesthesia, integrating movement, color, and sound. Other projects included animation for a biography on Buster Keaton’s teen years in Muskegon, Home
, and animated segments incorporated into ArtPrize installations in Grand Rapids.
"He married his high-school sweetheart, A-- (née ---), after a protracted courtship that was also interrupted by several decades (animation teaches one, if nothing else, the value of patience and timing). She served as continual muse and constructed a reality to surround his abstracted perceptions.
"He is survived by this inexplicably patient wife, A---, his far more brilliant and creative brother D--- (also, inexplicably, fond of a life in Florida), a brother d’un premier lit,
RA of Canada, a trio of rambunctious stepsons who provided constant, vicarious adventures to counter a sedentary life, and hundreds of amazing students who served to inspire him as he served as guide through their respective labyrinths.
"His step-mother, I--- of C--- , also survives. Three step-sisters are scattered along the North American continent, including I--- of N---, Dr. L--- of P--- , and M--- of M---. When they gather, it sounds like a soft jazz trio.
"The family line shall be carried forth by his cousins and their DNA descendants, bearing the melodic appellations of C---, F---, W---, H---, and K---. May they all merge someday and create a law firm. His beautiful Aunt B--- and resilient Uncle J--- also persevere.
"Extended families should include friendships of familial duration, to which the names of N--- of H---, J--- of H---, and K-- of B--- are included and championed.
"In keeping with his wishes, there will be no funeral, but a gathering shall be announced once arrangements are finalized. Expect cartoons. If one is so moved, memorials may be directed to the H--- or to any local struggling museum or community college."
As I said, the current situation (according to the Best Minds who answered by calls, anyway), is that the treatments "seemed to work for you" (quizzically uttered, as the clinicians darted to their own retirements), so all can be assured of a long period of being annoyed from this little land in mid-Michigan.
I think I'll just update this every few years, as one should do with any resume, but it probably won't appear in LinkedIn. Is LinkedIn still a thing?