Sunday, July 12, 2009

Braum's Milk and other Adam tidbits

I bought milk at Brahm's today, just like I do every time I buy milk. However, it might shock you to know that I have not always bought my milk at Braum's. Let me explain . . .

Adam and I had a conversation one day about milk (doesn't everbody?) and he challenged me to try Braum's milk. Adam claimed Braum's milk is cheaper, tastes better, and stays fresh longer than milk from the grocery store. But the idea of changing my grocery store milk routine was difficult for me . . .

But now I only buy my milk from Braum's . . . because he was right.

Every time I stop by the Braum's there on the corner of Nantucket (we shared a mutual Braum's location . . .), I am reminded that Adam introduced me to better milk, and that I've probably saved upwards of $17 in the years since I took him up on his milk wisdom . . .

This is just one of many things that makes me appreciate my friend Adam. He passed away a few days ago after a long and brave battle with Cystic Fibrosis.

I met Adam at work about five years ago and we worked together for almost four years. As I've thought about Adam these past few days, so many things come to mind. One Adam memory leads to another . . .

  • I remember not long after the Campisi's opened near the office, he excitedly came to chat with me one day after lunch. He'd eaten a WHOLE small Campisi's pizza, by himself, and he was very excited about this, had to tell me about it. I, too, was excited for him because 1) his illness kept him very thin and not prone to scarf down entire pizzas, and 2) I am well-known for never leaving a scrap of my own Campisi's pizza, quite capable of eating the whole thing in one sitting. Skinny people eating whole pizzas . . . we shared a bond.
  • Adam was the first to notice that one pair of my pants had random buttons intended for suspenders . . . even though I never wore suspenders.
  • The Lokey duo elevated our company softball to a whole new level. Think about frail Adam out there knocking balls OUT OF THE PARK, catching balls in the outfield left and right. And as if that wasn't enough, he brings in his amazing wife Jen who OWNED the mound as our secret weapon pitcher. A one-two Lokey punch on the field. It was greatness.
  • And that makes me think of our team shirts for the Ad Hawks. Adam sought out my geniusery to collaborate on the shirt design . . . "We bring a fowl game" was all me, folks. Thanks to Adam, that line will go down in history on those shirts. Forever . . .
  • You never knew what pattern Adam's facial hair would follow from day to day. But, I have to hand it to the man that he was a master at facial hair creativity.
Adam always surprised me. More times than I like to remember, we'd get the calls or e-mails at the office that he was back in the hospital. It always scared the bajeezus out of us. But in a couple of weeks, he'd be back at the office, glad to be there and seeming like his old self, like nothing happened. He always had a smile, and he always made the time and the point to catch up with everyone when he got back. The thing about Adam is that HE wanted to know how WE were while he was out. Dude was in a hospital, and he was more interested in how we were.

My grandmother died last year and I remember that was around a time when Adam was in and out of the office. When I made it back in to the office after my grandma's funeral, he came over and sat in the chair by my desk and asked me about it. You never had to wonder if Adam cared about you. He always seemed to keep up with everyone with a geniune sense of compassion.

Not long after that, I left that job. Again, Adam was in and out of the office around that time. But he called to check on me and to encourage me. I'll never forget that.

A few months ago, late at night the phone rang . . . and it was Adam. I hadn't heard from him in awhile. I pick up the phone and I hear a very excited Adam checking up on me, apologizing for the late night call (I'm sorry, but when Lokey calls . . . who cares what time it is?!?! I'll gladly take the call . . .).

THEN he got to the real reason for his call. He had come up with a plan and was so excited about it, he had to call me because Jen wasn't home yet so he could tell her . . . Silly Adam wanted to set me up with a friend of his. He went on and on about it, and had me rolling with laughter . . . but also so touched that even though we hadn't seen each other or talked in awhile, he was thinking of me and his friends and how to make us happy. Apparently by playing matchmaker . . .

Some time went by and he called me again with his plan. It was SUPER late at night and he had the set-up all arranged . . . except I was in NYC for work . . . But it was great to hear his voice and hear him still excited. Truth me told, I would have let him set me up with a stinky, smelly jerk if it gave something Adam to be excited about for awhile . . .

When I think of men of integrity, men that I respect, Adam is most definitely one of those men. I don't know that I told him how much it meant that he thought well enough of me to want to set me up with a friend of his. But, that was cool, Lokey.

Adam was our designated emcee for the company white elephant party each year at Christmas. The year I got to emcee in his place will always stand out for me. Had I been given more than about 30 minutes to understand what I was about to do and what it meant, I might have chickened out. I knew Adam wasn't up to it and I would have to dig deep into my wealth of snark and wit to successfully step up.

But this was "his" thing and it was a little bittersweet for me. Not to mention, NO ONE can compete with Adam and the Elf t-shirt. Big pointy shoes to fill . . . Afterwards, I went back to the office and went straight to Adam and I thanked him for giving me the opportunity and bowed to his emcee geniusery.

One of my favorite things about Adam (other than the hilarity) was how people rallied around him. When we would find out he wasn't doing well, Paula would round up the troops at the office and we would send a care package to Adam of his favorite things. We bought him an ipod one time. Anything we could think of to make his hospital visits more bearable, the office pulled through for him.

One of my favorite Adam moments didn't even really involve him. But the garage sale we held to help offset some of Adam and Jen's medical costs will go down as one of my favorite things ever.

He wasn't there for any of the time I helped at the sale, although he came out the night before for his rockstar appearance. But the spirit of the whole thing made it clear that this was a Lokey event from start to finish. It was great to spend that day with people who love Adam, and it was certainly fantastic to get to spend that time with Jen wheeling and dealing at the sale. She is truly amazing and a blessing to watch with anything regarding Adam.

Knowing we could do something tangible to help him, so many people rallied with tons of stuff for the sale, plenty of help. We raised a good chunk of change, and of course . . . hilarity ensued.

For Adam (of course) I may or may not have donned a wedding dress to help increase our sales.

But, he did it first.

That event is something I'll never forget for a friend I'll never forget.

Adam is at rest now, no more pain. For that, I am thankful. But even more than that, I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to know him, even a just little bit, for awhile.

I'll never understand why amazing people have to die so young. I have to remind myself that they are only too young to us. But to God, they have lived the life they were intended to live and their work here is done. We have to trust Him in that.

Adam touched a lot of lives in his short time here, and I have no doubt the Adam stories will continue for a long, long time. He is missed. But he is home and whole.

Thank you, Adam . . . for everything. Including the milk.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Michael Jackson: I'm not convinced that "This Is It"

Yes, I have been caught up in the Michael Jackson whirlwind since he reportedly died last week. I've been shocked and saddened, just like the rest of the world.

I've watched all of the coverage (who knew it was possible to watch so much Michael Jackson programming and still want more?!?!?). I've read all of the online news coverage, as much as my eyeballs could take. Even my Entertainment Weekly arrived yesterday with MJ on the cover, and I'm convinced there is more info in it that I simply must read, lest I miss something important.

However, WHAT IF this is all a hoax? Think about it . . .

I've read and watched SO MUCH about all of this, I'm beginning to see (or perhaps make up in my MJ-overloaded brain) some holes in the story. And I've become suspicious that Michael Jackson's reported death last week could be the greatest piece of showmanship the world has ever seen . . . to set up the greatest comeback the world has ever witnessed.

Think about it . . .

Let's examine the facts, shall we?

  • The most obvious clue is that MJ's memorial service is set to take place at the Staples Center . . . where he was rehearsing for his big comeback. And his "death" happened just two weeks before his comeback tour was set to begin. What better way to publicize a comeback than to attract the world's media coverage to the star? The sets are there at the Staples Center. In a sense, the stage is already set. And . . . with the media coverage of his death, the whole world will be watching on Tuesday. What better set-up to live up to the promise he made to the world that this would be the biggest comeback ever?
  • And, why would AEG (the concert promotion company) release footage of his last rehearsal . . . if not to tease the world and make his apparent death more dramatic? Making the case that MJ was in good health, well enough to rehearse, so how could he be suddenly dead?
  • Think about what we have NOT seen. Isn't it somewhat suspicious that we've seen NO rogue cell phone picks from a money-hungry EMT, or from someone at the hospital, or from MJ's staff . . . of Michael's body? Could this mean that . . . there is no body? We've barely seen anything from the scene, and very little details have emerged from his time at the hospital. Then a moving van shows up a day or so later and began removing items from the mansion. To cover up? Think about it . . .
  • The L.A. Police are under speculation for not following proper procedures. They didn't seal the mansion right away, they didn't get a search warrant right away . . . could this have been because they were in on the hoax? Why rush things or follow protocol details when there's no real crime . . . or death . . .
  • AEG is offering a full refund for the 50 London concerts. Could this really be because they know Michael only intended to do the ONE comeback show at the Staples Center after his "death?" Most fans are keeping their tickets anyway. AEG probably knew this would happen, so they aren't really losing any money even though they are playing the part of the responsible concert promoters.
  • Mis-direction is a must when trying to create the most elaborate and shocking comeback ever. So sure, the media has been mislead with "discoveries" of drugs in his mansion, sketchy doctors to interview, all kinds of crazy "details" and "revelations" about his last days, relationships, what will happen to the kids, etc. plus talks of holding the memorial at Neverland that fell through . . . all the while finalizing the "memorial" at the Staples Center.
  • Is it beyond MJ's influence and capability to coordinate friends, family, staff, associates, to go along with the story? He has a family of performers. He wanted to be the world's greatest entertainer. Clearly, the most recent spotlight on him (prior to the recent weeks) was less than favorable. And in recent years, did anyone really care about a Michael Jackson comeback tour with 50 dates in London? Since when is his biggest audience the UK? Think about it . . .
I could be full of crap. And yes, I'm naturally paranoid and suspicious of just about everything.

BUT, if Tuesday comes and Michael Jackson's "memorial" turns out to be the ultimate, most elaborate hoax and comeback ever?


I'm just sayin'.... Don't underestimate the King of Pop.

But if I'm wrong, rest in peace . . . you will always rock my world.