Monday, October 03, 2005

Saying Goodbye to Eli

Last Friday, a member of my extended comedy family was killed in a motorcycle accident.

I didn't know Eli very well. Our paths crossed when I was just starting out. He was encouraging, and an inspiring performer. He was absolutely authentic, and an incredible presence on stage. Eli was a fearless performer-- he would just put himself out there. He was a very physical comedian, and he could hold the stage for what seemed like an eternity-- without saying a word. He had such an original and infectious personality. Among our circle, many of his expressions-- Eli-ism's-- became part of our collective vernacular. (That one's true.)

Saturday night there was a show in which many of his friends performed. Everyone paid tribute in some small way in their set. One of Eli's best friends did only Eli's material. Amazing. It was sad, yes, but also a celebration. There was a lot of laughter.

You live long enough, this sort of thing happens with unfortunate regularity. People in your life die before their time. You know it will happen again, but it always comes as a shock. I cannot make sense of it. I cannot recognize any grand plan that this could be a part of.

As always, it's a reminder that it could be you, me or anyone, anytime. It's a reminder not to leave things unsaid or undone, because you never know when they may have to stay that way. It's a reminder that every day we have is a gift, and that once it's gone, it's gone.

I ran in a race on Sunday. As I neared the finish line, I saw someone holding up a big sign that said, "Go Eli!"

Go, if you must. But we wish you didn't have to.

8 Comments:

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Kirin said...

Awesome post.

I noticed you changed your photo. How about one w/o a scowl? It's not like you have to smile or anything, just look less pissed off. Just a thought.

 
At 11:40 AM, Blogger k said...

i love this photo of you. especially when you look at the enlarged one, i think you appear to be making a funny, sly, bemused expression.

but that's maybe just me.

 
At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree, kristy! i think it's a funny picture. (not bad funny, good funny)

sorry about eli, ish.

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger Changeseeker said...

This one took me back a bit. My son, who's name was Eli, too, died unexpectedly five years ago at the age of 22. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sorry for all our losses. And yeah, they always remind me to live while I'm still living.

 
At 8:20 AM, Blogger Sydney said...

I saw some discussion about it on one of the motorcycle groups (no I am not remotely interested in motorcycles, I was trying to figure out WHICH Eli the comedian you were talking about - there are a couple) anyway, apparently he was a neat guy and there are a lot of people out there who are going to miss him. It's hard. I'm sorry.

 
At 10:20 AM, Blogger Ish said...

Changeseeker,

I'm sorry for your loss, and I hope my post wasn't too jarring.

It's interesting- over the weekend, I was around a lot of comedians who knew Eli, and I have to say, we laughed a lot. He's still making us laugh.

 
At 10:23 AM, Blogger Ish said...

My dad's younger brother was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 18, so I never knew him.

Suffice to say I am not a big fan of motorcycles.

If you want to get a better sense of Eli, you can go to this tribute page. http://www.purebredproductions.com/eli_tapley.html
There's a short video of him doing a bit about karate which I recommend.

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Sherri said...

I was touched by your post. I lost one of my dearest friends 15 years ago. He was 21 and was killed in a motorcycle accident.

It does make you reflect on life and you realize that you have to live every moment because there is no guarantee of tomorrow.

On a side note....I like both the pics. I prefer the second, though. Funny. :)

 

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