Scott Christian Peter Tolson
Born September 10,
1964, in Tacoma, Washington. Died November 20, 2003, in Seattle, Washington. I
met him in the summer of 1981 and he was the best man at my wedding in August of
1998. I'll miss a lot of things about him. His sense of humor. His intelligence.
His spontaneity. He was a longtime Billy Joel fan and I believe Billy phrased it
best when he said, "Only The Good Die Young."
The funeral service was memorable. The graveside service was strangely short. Several people didn't want to leave, probably because it meant all of it was really happening. There are several tributes online and you can come across two of them on my links page (Ciam Sawyer and Tim Harrison).
I managed to gather up some nerve, harness some more emotional self-control and give a short speech at the funeral service. I told two stories about my time with Scott. One was cool (his comment to me during the wedding reception when he heard the processional -- the music from the Throne Room scene in Star Wars) and the other one, looking back on it, was a bit uncomfortable (his strange reaction when I played Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues" in his presence).
Of course, as frequently happens, a few days later, I thought of three more stories about Scott that would've been funnier than those other two.
The first one would've gone like this: "There are moments and events in the lives of people our age that are never forgotten. The day John Lennon was shot. The day the Challenger blew up. The first time you saw Scott eat a sandwich."
The second story goes like this: "Scott and I were at the bookstore one day and I was telling him about how I needed to find a decent doctor because I was overdue for a physical. Without hesitating, he said, 'Find a woman doctor.' For a moment, I was stunned. I didn't think Scott was sexist or anything, but what a cool thing to suggest. Why not give female doctors as much as business and respect as you'd give to a male doctor? So I asked him why should I go see a female doctor. Again, without hesitation, he said, 'Smaller fingers.'"
The third and final story happened this way: "I was hanging out with Scott at his Ballard art-studio space and he was very happy and excited about his new computer and its ability to make vocal sounds. I think it's great that guys our age are still able to keep up with technology and I thought about all of the things that something like this could be used for. He brought me over to the computer desk, pushed a button and I heard one single metallic-voiced word...byotch!! It was at that point I knew that, given much more free time, he would come up with George Carlin's seven words you can't say on television."
What follows are the lyrics of a Stevie Wonder tune featured at the end of Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders. A very good movie and a big first step for a lot of actors that are still big in Hollywood 20 years later. This song used to emotionally affect both Scott and myself when the movie would appear on TV and it still works as I type the lyrics here.
Seize upon that
moment long ago
One breath away and there you will be
So young and carefree
Again you will see
That place in time...so gold
Steal away into that way back when
You thought that all would last forever
But like the weather
Nothing can ever...and be in time
But can it be
When we can see
And yes you say
So must the day
Too, fade away
And leave a ray of sun
Life is but a twinkling of an eye
Yet filled with sorrow and compassion
Though not imagined
All things that happen
Will age too old