Astonishingly, our busy travel schedule this summer allowed me to attend an important event for a dear friend of mine, Jay Lake’s “live wake.” Anyone who knows Jay won’t be surprised that he would rather go out with a bang than a whimper, and the wake was certainly in the category of “bang” — and luckily, it looks as if it won’t be the last.
To begin the proceedings, Jay was carried into the room in a coffin.
After which he rose from the dead with a typically Jay-like gesture of triumph.
The roasting followed, which included many references to Jay’s huge productivity and exceedingly successful polyamourous lifestyle.* In both regards, a certain amount of envy could often be discerned through the jokes, despite the occasion.
It was amazingly funny and fun, given the fact that the reason for the party was Jay’s diagnosis as terminal. Once enough people had lovingly abused Jay, he got up to have his own say.
The humor left the room for a little while, to be replaced by the seriousness of the situation, which we were all trying to repress, or at least chase away for a couple of hours with a few jokes.
At least Jay was able to give us a little good news — his most recent tests give him quite a bit longer to live than than the prognosis had been only weeks ago. As Jay phrased it, he has become a medical curiosity, something no one should aspire to. So we all continue to say good bye in stages. But as another speaker mentioned, we are all terminal, after all.
Here’s hoping this won’t be my last chance to say goodbye.
* Long ago, Jay used to refer to this as being a boy slut, but that doesn’t have the legitimacy of sounding like a lifestyle choice.