A week or two ago, I received an invitation over Facebook for a benefit show at the Silo, dedicated to none other than Eric Rothharpt. At that moment and time, all of the sudden a flood of memories involving the man ran through my mind, something that hadn’t happened since I heard about his tragic and untimely death, which had occurred quite some time before I was made aware of it. I wanted to take enough time to gather together the right words to express about Eric, and not just about what he meant to me personally, but what he meant to every single person he ever met.
When I left the area that my hometown resided in five years ago this month, I had fallen out of contact a bit with the people I grew up with and went to high school with and such. Sadly, Eric was one of them. The last thing I had heard about him was from my girlfriend at the time, who had heard that Eric joined the military. That in itself surprised the hell out of me to be honest. The Eric I knew was this short, scrawny kid with punked out hair and a kind of goofy attitude. However, one other thing Eric possessed was this universal appeal to everyone around him: everyone couldn’t help but love the guy. The whole time I knew Eric and went to Boone, I never knew anyone that didn’t like him. He was funny, smart, and knew how to make you laugh…to put it bluntly, he was just too damn cool. Memories of his coolness and all-around randomness are so vast and varied that it’s hard to narrow them all down. I remember how we had joked around about forming our own punk band called “Electric Kool-Aid” after coming across a pamphlet that detailed the slang terms for LSD and laughing about them all. I remember at a punk show at the firehouse how he jumped on my back for an impromptu piggy-back ride (that didn’t end well for either of us mind you) and more besides. Like I said, Eric was just too damn cool.
Having a universal appeal and overall coolness is one thing, but being a good-hearted individual is something else entirely. And yet, Eric was that too, and he was in spades. He was a good kid who grew up to become a good man, and was even a good soldier all on top of that plus. How one person could qualify to fit in all of these categories I myself will never know, but the one thing that I am damn sure of is that I am a better person for having known Eric. All of us who knew Eric, no matter in what sort of capacity, are better off for having known him. And the world as a whole is all the worse off for not having Eric Rothharpt in it.
Until I see you again brother, you’ll always have my undying love and respect.