This time of year I always think about one of the most interesting characters for many years, I ever met, my friend and coworker Roy. And so we I saw move Dead Poet Society was on TV I had to watch it.
Roy was a man’s man. He walked much bigger than his statue, with hi chest thrown out and always, even in the dead of winter, wore his sleeves shoved over his elbows. He could quote from the Tibetan Book of the Dead and tell you the manufacturer of fine glassware in shop windows. He was, the Renaissance man. Born and raised in the West Virginia panhandle, Roy was one of three coworkers who grew up in the same neighborhood as the infamous Charles Manson, and used to tell me interesting stories of their childhood.
In the late winter one year, Roy and I were required by our company to attend a management seminar for an entire week. Every day we ate lunch together and discussed the good and bad points of the class, and his retirement plans. I knew I would miss the skills and expertise he lent to our company, and our talks, but I was very happy for him and excited to hear the plans he had made for the leisure of his later life.
One day in the class, the instructor used a video clip from the movie Dead Poet Society as a teaching tool. At lunch Roy asked me if I had seen the movie. I told him it was one of my favorites and he said he would love to see it. So the next day I brought him my copy on VHS, the format of the day. Roy watched it that night and the next day during lunch we discussed the movie. We both took the story as being a strong and true statement of life, and how each of us, through our interactions, have a profound influence on others. We mostly go through life not realizing this until it is pointed out abruptly, and usually too late to improve upon. As Puck would say, “What fools these mortals be!”
Roy loved the movie, and often quoted from it the remainder of the week. We walked out of the building after the last day of the seminar talking about work issues, and as I got in my truck I yelled, “Have a nice weekend Roy!” Roy yelled back, “Carpe diem, Timmy!” I smiled, and that weekend watched the movie again myself.
I will always remember our conversations of that week, and all our other talks as a very special gift from my friend, who was sadly taken from us three week later by leukemia. I never saw him again, an although that has often tortured me, Roy would be proud to know how much he continues to influence m life.