Monday, October 29, 2012
Paul & Me: A Last Salute.
On Sunday, October 28th 2012 at around 2:50 PM, Paul Covey passed away, surrounded by his family, friends, and loved ones. He held on for as long as he could, battled and battled like he did his whole life, but in the end, it was too much to keep going. I had the honor not only to know him, but to have been there with him during his final moments, and I got to say goodbye to the absolute best friend I've ever had.
I owe a lot to Paul Covey, my life more than anything. I was 20 years old when I met Paul, and funny enough, we did not like each other or get along in the least after first meeting. Yet somehow, someway, Paul and I ended up getting along surprisingly well, considering he was a relatively conservative, chain smoking military man, and I was the 20 year old, booze and drug-loving douche bag that had only recently come to Philadelphia after finally getting out of the hick town I had grown up in.
One thing we immediately got along about was our mutual love for horror films. For most of my teens, I would attempt to discover relatively obscure, unknown, or cult horror films, while others in my age-bracket were sucking down the wave of PG-13 rated tame, Americanized remakes of Japanese flicks that were growing so popular at the time. With Paul, here was this 50-ish year old guy with a mustache that looked like he belonged in the neighborhood I grew up in, but looks were ever so deceiving. That was how we first bonded was with horror flicks: "Evil Dead", "The Thing", "Halloween", and tons more. It wasn't long after that we were drinking buddies, and it went from there.
Over time, I hit some extremely rough patches in my life. I was trying to put myself through college (which took a lot longer than it rightfully should have) while deciding to bury myself in booze, weed, coke, and sluts, because...well, I can't really come up with a logical excuse, but I'm not here to make excuses, other than bouts with drugs, depression, and death. I had my fun, like everyone does, but after a while I was starting to let things spiral out of my control. I had a legitimate good future ahead of me, and I was going to let it go to waste because I couldn't cope with what I couldn't control. Paul snapped me out of that funk almost singlehandedly. During a night of sharing some beers and full glasses of his favorite booze on the planet in Jack Daniels, his exact words to me were "what the fuck are you doing with your life dickhead?" That lead to a long, drunken conversation that I vividly remember sobering up in the middle of, because he pretty much told me in so many words that he would (and could) kick the holy living shit out of me if I didn't straighten up, because I was better than what I was letting myself be known to be.
And he was right.
Fast forward a little over three years later, and I finally did get my shit together. I graduated college (with honors, no bullshit), was finally in a stable(ish) relationship, and actually looked forward to what tomorrow would bring...and just about all of that was because this man, Paul Covey, snapped me out of the spiral of self-destruction I was circling around. He saved my life. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be here; I'd either be in jail, or dead. That's no bullshit either; I owe the man my life.
And now he's gone, no longer in pain. This man, who in a lot of ways was the father I never had and should have had, this man who was so proud of his children and how they turned out, this man who loved his grandchildren and was as much of a hero to them as he was to me and even more so. This man who didn't give two shits about what other people thought about him or perceived him, because he played his life by his own rules while still managing to do the right thing all throughout his life.
I love you Paul. This Halloween won't be the same without you, and the world is a worse place without you being in it.
At ease soldier.