From 2003-2005 I worked at a large corporate insurance broker, the kind of place that slowly kills your soul if you don’t have something else to focus on. My focus was on cooking (big surprise), I cooked and watched FoodTV at night, read every online food article I could, and eventually, started hosting a weekly recipe thread over at TotalFark.com (I no longer host the TFKitchen). This was the time when going to culinary school became the itch I couldn’t quite scratch.
This job and the office were abysmal, a group of 10 of use were stacked in a room no more than 10×18 feet, no personal space, no privacy, and you’d better find a way to get along…
Eric who sat about 2 feet to my right was a late 20’s black ‘dude’ his focus was comic books, and being a stoner. For the first 9 months that I worked there, Eric had never known a gay person, and since he seemed hostile towards gays in the beginning, I went with The Gay Agenda – Article 1, Paragraph 1. “If they seem anti-gay, don’t come out until they get to know you. – (it’s really hard to hate someone you already know and like).”¹ So after 9 months he’d kinda figured it out, and asked, and we were cool. (And man was he full of questions about ‘The Gay”).
We became ‘work friends’ who occasionally hung out after, going out for drinks, or food, a celebration here and there when someone, anyone would escape that job.
Five years ago today; August 13, 2004 Julia Child passed at the age of 92. When the news broke, Eric became the kindest person, almost soft, gentle, he knew what Julia meant to me; not as a celebrity, not even necessarily as a cook, he knew that to me she was an inspiration, an ideal, a goal, a don’t you ever give up attitude, and a perseverance. Julia was and still is a Hero of mine. Eric got this, and he got it really well, but I didn’t fully understand how he got it until a few months later, when Christopher Reeve passed. And then it dawned on me, when I found myself consoling Eric. He understood because he had a hero who persevered too….
Here’s to our Heroes, may they live forever in our memories.
¹ Actually, to the best of my knowledge, that is the entirety of “The Gay Agenda”. Subtle, isn’t it?
Photographs are © Time Magazine.