A friend of mine passed away yesterday.
He was a friend who I have never met in person, but has been a big part of my subconscious since 1993. That was the year I first felt his menacing presence and thought to myself “Now, there’s a person I wouldn’t wanna fuck with“.
He was briefly in and out of my life after that, until 2001. That was the year I was living in London and got reacquainted with him. And what a reacquaintance it was! The way he spoke, the complexity of his personality, the way he can assume the role of a gentle giant on the one hand, then erupt into a fireball of rage and violence on the other, often within a split second.
A man who struggled with the unrelenting pressures of parenthood, marriage, family and career – so much so that he sought outside help, despite his tremendous pride and macho ego. I thought to myself, “Now, there’s a man I wouldn’t mind sitting down, having a beer or five with“.
He was responsible for the livelihood of many, not just those in his inner family, but many colleagues and underlings in a wider one – people who were just as volatile and tortured as he was, soul-wise. And despite the tough outward appearance he tried to project in his role as the patriarch and a leader, his emotional vulnerability was there on his sleeve for all to see.
He was not a good man in any way. In fact, he probably committed every single sin in whatever religious or righteous book that tickles your fancy. And he would have been the first to admit that he was what he was which, of course, further contributed to the torture of his soul.
Yet he carried on, and rolled with life the best he could.
And, boy, did he like to eat! He was the kind of man who enjoyed his meals in such a way that couldn’t help but made you think “Now, there’s a man I wouldn’t mind sitting down with, breaking bread and shooting breeze“.
This imaginary friend of mine passed away yesterday.
I wish I had known him in real life. I think I would have really enjoyed chewing the fat with him.
His real name is James.
But in my mind, he wil always be remembered as Tony – Tony Soprano.
Riposa in pace, my friend.
Keep on pounding.