Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jack Magic V.2 Pt. 3

Early on the morning of Sunday, February 6 1994, I was still up after a long night of work, happy that we were about to be snowed-in, as I like that once a year. And, it was piling up on Lexington Avenue at a satisfying rate as I stood looking out of the large bay-window. The phone rang and I reached over slightly to answer it. On the other end was a weeping Mike Thibodeaux, informing me that Jack had died and asking if I could call the man’s friends and tell them, because he was in no condition to.
One son couldn’t so the older brother had to.
As I watched the snow sift, it sunk in. I’d known that I’d never see him again, now I knew I’d never speak to him again. And that was the killer. Wanting to cry, but knowing that would have to wait, I grabbed my red phone book and began contacting everyone I knew who’d loved Jack.
Long list.
Now, the guy instilled in me the idea that there are moments when you have to be a man, do the hard thing if it’s the right thing and put your friends and family first.
The next two hours were spent listening to all of our friends break down and cry. I called Simon first and we talked about Jack with gentle sadness and a dash of “What a guy.” Jim (MISTER MIRACLE) Steranko audibly choked and was at a loss for words and that was a first for me in that department.
Then, I turned to the “A” pages and began at the top.
And it is moments like the ones that followed that brings out this kind of “Life reduced to its simplest emotions,” and I heard it in almost fifty peoples voices. It was grueling, because I wanted to breakdown with all of them, but had some serious marching to do instead. After breaking the news to Tom Ziuko, I was numb, completely tapped and emotionally brutalized. Sitting quietly, watching the snow fall, I felt tears run down my face and into my hands and they seemed to fall as regularly as the snow. It struck me as odd that so many tears would be spent and yet I was sitting quietly, too drained to even conjure a sob.
“Honey, please get my bag out. I’ve got to fly to California.”
Now, this was a fool’s errand and I knew it, but it was time to be the man and do the hard thing. The snow was probably ten-inches deep when I finally hailed a cab and told the driver I’d tip him well if he’d take me to LaGuardia, a forty-minute drive in sunny weather. Two hours later, I lightened my wallet, lugged luggage and made it through the doors of the airport to hear “The airport is closed due to weather conditions,” over and over, on a loop.
I could make up some entertaining story about the journey home, but I honestly don’t remember anything until after I returned.
The first thing I do remember is standing at the big studio window, looking at the snow and laughing. Knowing that Jack had pulled some strings and had snowed-in the entire eastern seaboard, so that people wouldn’t be put out by having to come to his funeral. Had the day been nicer, I’d probably hit the air with fifteen or twenty fans and professionals who shared the same goal. Nope, Kirby was a practical guy and would not hear of his friends spending tens of thousands in rent money to attend his ceremony and put a meteorological kibosh on the whole thing, with the help of his new partner.

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