Courage and loss

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Learned a few hours ago of the passing of Adrian Dessi, the 100th Quaz. Here’s a link to the interview. The cause was complications due to ALS.

If you include today’s edition, I’ve completed 192 Quaz Q&As. They’ve been with actors, singers, athletes, politicians. There have been men and women, black and white, Hispanic and German and models and dancers and balloon animal creators … and … and …

Adrian Dessi is my favorite.

Why? Well, because it was personal. Mr. Dessi is the father of Chris and Mark Dessi, my classmates and friends from Mahopac High School. He’s also the only Quaz I’ve conducted in person. Most are produced via e-mail, a handful have been done via phone. Just one, though, was face to face.

I met Mr. Dessi at his home in Carmel, N.Y. He was in his wheelchair, positioned before me as I sat on the couch. I could make this fluffy and say he was the perfect picture of strength and toughness. But, truth be told, he was equal parts vulnerable and frustrated. ALS robbed him of so much, and it showed. He was a tad hopeful, but also angry. The beauty, to me, was that he was unafraid to let the emotions flow. For example, this …

• Do you never have ‘Why is this happening to me?’ moments?: Fleeting. Short. Brief. Kick their ass, get them out of my head. It’s really good, because if I let it take hold—and I know this, because I’m smart enough to know this—that will be the end. That will be the end of my relationship with my family, it’ll be the end of me. And you know what? I’m not dying today and I’m not dying tomorrow. So fuck you. I don’t have time for this shit.

Those emotions … that feisty attitude is how, tonight, I’m choosing to remember Mr. Dessi, and my time with him. Or, in his exact words, “Fuck you. I don’t have time for this shit.”

Amen.

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