In my previous post, I shared some memories of my old friend, Alex "Kazz" McDougall, in the wake of his recent death. I will share more about him in this post, and I will open once again by linking to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts, please, please call that number.
I wrote a post last week, examining the reasons why I still keep all my old stuff up here on this website -- even the stuff that's regrettable, embarrassing, or offensive. I gave a list of reasons, or maybe excuses, for why I don't just delete it.
Now I know another reason: because a day may come when someone is gone, and this is what we have to remember them by.
Kazz made this:
That is an MS Paint mashup of a video game reference and an inside joke. As ephemera go, it doesn't get any more ephemeral than that.
And now I look at it and I tear up. Because my friend made it, and I know that he will never make anything else again.
Sometimes you can't know what things will matter. The silliest, most inconsequential thing could mean everything someday.
Kazz was a major contributor to KateStory XIII and XIV (with a few posts to follow in XV and one-offs in XVII and XVIII). Those posts aren't all gold; there's some puerile look-at-me-being-edgy stuff in there. (Not as much as XII with its Hitler and bestiality jokes, but up there.) But some of them are. He gave us a new hero in hardboiled detective Gok Tinnik. He fleshed out Janey's backstory. And, when it all started to get too overwrought, he blew the whole thing up with magic pirates.
Kazz made things. He wrote, he drew, he made videos. I'd like to hang on to those memories, those things that my friend did -- or, at least, I'd like to hang on to some of them.
I can't recommend looking at the recent videos on his YouTube channel. They are videos of a man who is not well, a man who I can scarcely recognize. They are not the way I want to remember my friend.
But here's the oldest video in his feed, a video from happier times, from 2006, a time when YouTube was young -- and, god damn, I can't look at it without thinking "so were we":
That's Kazz. Kazz the goofball; Kazz the oddball. Kazz just as I remember him.
His videos, his pictures, his writing -- these have become a precious, all-too-finite resource. I'd like to find more of them, and share more of them. I've got some old hard drives to go through, some old threads on fossilized.brontoforum.us, and we'll see if I can coax archive.org into giving up any gems from the old Pyoko days.
These mementos -- they will never be the man. The man is gone. Those of us who knew him are shattered. We will each do the best we can to pick up the pieces, in our own way. My way is to be a packrat, to save everything, to try and look back to the old days for comfort. My way is to remember.
And I will never forget him. He was one-of-a-kind.