Broc's Tribute

Old Friend, we haven't seen each other very often lately. And even at that, there were times I would always think of you without fail. I live not far from the house on Rice Street where we both lived at separate times and even occupied the same room. That coincidence always makes me think of you as I pass the house. And then I think of your gaining an especially persistent fan while in my home town of Escanaba when returning to Chicago from the East coast on your bicycle. Now that you have passed, I find that you cross my mind almost hourly. Now, nearly everything is causing me to think of you. As I cook myself breakfast, I remember the conversations we had about cooking and farmers markets that would eventually come around to us talking about girls. You loved women, Bobby. Not in the Warren Beatty womanizing kind of way. I mean, you LOVED women. You were authentically blown away by a woman with brains and brass. You were a Feminists kind of man: intellectual, rugged, and pure, warm oozy love sold with a set of clear, baby blues and eye lashes that could hail a Chicago cab from three city blocks. If it sounds like I was in love with you Bobby, I was. So was every single person that worked with you at REI. Literally. Without exception. We were in love with your positivity, your willingness to risk personal comfort to forge new friendships, your lightness of spirit, and your ease with yourself and all whom you came into to contact with. The other night when we gathered in remembrance of you, we would say to one another "Bobby is Love."

And it was easy to be okay. It was easy to think of you and hold that space of positivity. Now I am alone in a quiet house. So far I've avoided reading anything about the selfish idiot that took your life. Without wanting to know, here is what I know: he was very drunk, there were people in the car with him, he was speeding, he owns a website called Is this a joke? Can this be real life? I am so angry that I'm being choked out by the clenched fingers of my own rage. I know that life is not about human comfort, so I'm not asking myself "why do bad things happen to good people?" I am just simply incredulous. I can not fucking believe it. And so I am experiencing this dark night of the soul. I want to come down on this man's chest with both feet and the weight of a five hundred pound gorilla-all the while holding direct eye contact with him because I want the violence to be just as unmistakably personal as it is obdurate and savage. This hate is righteous and it is toxic. And this is how I know what I need to do to survive the suicide bomber mission of my own grief: I need to think of you. Not of me and my sense of loss. A constant discipline of retreiving my spirit and aligning it with yours. Your spirit of grace and of positivity. Words that are thrown around everyday, like you could just pluck this abundant fruit off of any barren tree. But you're right Bobby, just like magic, you can.

-Broc Hansen