For many years, I had a great friend by the name of Chaz Stevens. We met when I lived in South Florida, hit it off on many levels, and stayed friends and professional colleagues for over a decade. His personality is 180 degrees from mine. Where I am reserved, he is flamboyant. Where I am cautious he is reckless. I always envied him that.
Man – we had the best debates and late-night arguments over love, philosophy, life, mathematics, science – you name it. We both thought we were smarter than the other and, sometimes, we were right. Of course, the arrogant sunofabitch infuriated me 90% of the time, but I loved it and the feeling was mutual (I think).
Anyway – right when I was going through my divorce he approached me to help him with a professional project. I was a mess at the time and not even close to being in my right mind – but I accepted the contract and a few thousand dollars to get started from the client.
And then I fucked it up beyond all recognition. I couldn’t get my act together. I was unfocused, unmotivated, and apathetic. Like I said, I was an emotional wreck and should never have taken the contract. To top it off, I was forced to spend the contract seed money just to make ends meet as I reeled under the financial impact of the divorce.
So, when I tried to back out of the contact of course the client wanted the money back and I couldn’t pay. I set up a payment plan and paid it back – but this situation irrevocably killed my friendship with Chaz. He had recommended me in good faith and not only had I failed, but it appeared that I was shady as well. It tarnished Chaz’s reputation and put him in a really awkward position.
It got ugly between us. And we went our separate ways. But I regret losing my friend; it truly was my fault and was avoidable if I could have just gotten my act together. I lost my very best friend, T.J., in 1997 to a madman with a shotgun and ever since I have learned to value my friendships highly.
Losing Chaz hurt like hell as well (not as bad as a murdered friend – but bad enough). It hurt especially because I knew where the fault lay. With me.
I know I blogged about responsible friendships last week. But the truth is that I have been on both sides of this – I have been the responsible friend and I have been the fucked-up mess that ruins a friendship. I’m definitely not holier-than-thou on this topic. Life is messy in general – but losing a friend is one of the hardest and messiest things a person can experience.
Anyway – I was thinking about Chaz tonight and did a little Google search. It seems that he has been HIGHLY influential in local politics down south – to the point of exposing rampant corruption and ineptitude in his hometown of Deerfield Beach. His efforts have forever changed the face of politics down there.
Even though we’re not friends anymore – I am proud of and happy for him. He was always talking about getting involved in politics when I knew him – and it seems he did so with a gusto. It’s also a testament to the power of a blogger – for much of his mischief is stirred up via his blog.
Anyway, check this out:
Way to go Chaz – give em hell!