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A little story about the late IWhoSawtheFace and myself...

In 2007, I was leaving New Hampshire to return to Orlando, following what had been the most emotionally devastating two years of my life. I was eager to return to Orlando to hopefully reboot my life here. I was a complete wreck and returning in a car that had seen better days, worried that it wouldn't get me back home again.

That summer, there was a major E2 gathering in Ohio that coincided with my return trip to Florida. There were a number of people who wanted me to attend, but I told them that there was no way that I could chance traveling out to Ohio. My car was in rough shape, I was pretty much flat broke, and in no state of mind for socialization on any level.

A lot of people tried to convince me to attend. Fred reached out to me. We'd talked back and forth for years here through messages, but we'd never met in person, talked on the phone, or even exchanged e-mail addresses. I'll add that iceowl had an assist in this, as I endeavor never to forget those who have been there for me throughout my life's journey, but Fred insisted that I could stay with him for two days prior to his own departure for Ohio. He offered to take me along, insisting that he didn't want gas money or any kind of compensation because, "I'm going there anyway, be nice to have some company."

While I was at his apartment, which was... well, if you knew him from his writeups you would not be surprised that the walls of his apartment were made up of bookshelves crammed with nothing but books relating to advanced mathematics and theories related to that kind of thing. Not my cup of tea at all, but it was very Fred.

He had also just begun a romance with a woman who lived in his building. He was nervous and giddy as a teenager (at the time, he was in his early 50s). He wanted my advice as he was having dinner at her apartment and they'd been out on one date after knowing one another only from seeing each other around the building. He was so afraid that he'd mess things up, say or do the wrong thing... now he was in my area. I managed to get him to relax and told him, "Just go with it, whatever happens, happens. You'll be fine. She's inviting you to her apartment for dinner. This is a very good sign if you are really into her." And he was very much into her.

That night he didn't come back home. I slept on the couch, and in the morning when I woke up, his bed was still made and he was nowhere to be found. An hour or so later, he bounded into the apartment with a smile on his face. Everything had gone well. Fred was in love.

Over the years that followed, we lost touch, but I've always remembered him from that summer, for what he did for me, and for that childlike quality he had and probably few really experienced.

In the drafts of the second novel of the trilogy that I am writing about my life's journey, this story appears and is given great significance. Because we'd been out of touch and I wasn't able to get in contact him during the writing, I did change his name and make minor adjustments to some of the details.

I remember thanking him after that weekend and he said, "Nah, don't mention it. What was it you wrote about? Give everything you can to everyone you know? Right back at ya."

This is the day I found out that IWhoSawTheFace had passed away.

My first thought was denial. But as I get older, the denials are getting weaker, as it becomes 'more usual' to lose people.

I met IWho, for the first time, in a restaurant in the DC area. We had dinner. We discussed whisky and BMWs (we had similar generation Bimmers, so many stories of tribulations to share) and satellites (he designed them and their systems, I treated them like chess pieces in a permanent theoretical game of kill-the-C3I-systems in my head). We discussed women - his starry-eyed looking forward toward the woman of his dreams, and my at the time bitterness of a life spent without.

This was before 2010. I know this because I was in DC later to meet him (again) to watch the premiere of Tron: Legacy. I think. It blurs a bit.

IWho and I stayed in cheerful touch for many years. He went dark for a few years, and we found it that it was literal; he had lost his sight due to macular degeneration (I think) and was struggling to rebuild his ability to stay in touch with folks online.

He met his dream woman, and he wrote about the experience here on E2.

I met my own, and married her, and am infinitely grateful that I got to tell him that.

Fred was one of the most generous and affable and generally supportive people I have interacted with on or around E2. He was our Cliff, or or Norm, maybe with less beer - but if E2 was Cheers, IWho was definitely a regular. Okay, maybe not a Cliff or Norm, because he wandered in and out - but at least a few times a season, the plot would hinge on him and his antics.

I miss him already.

I would like it to be known that Fred Seelig was in fact undergoing physical therapy when the coronary hit. I am assured that the therapists were female, extremely buxom, and very cheerful.

That's Fred's story, and I'm sticking to it.

Requescat I pacem IWho. See you soon.

IWhoSawTheFace was a rocket man, a satellite jockey, and a mathematician. He was warm, brilliant, and often stubborn. Face was an old school noder who could be intensely old school in his culture and politics, and intensely accepting of the odd and offbeat in the way only someone who'd been to several nodermeets could really get. The man was a hedonist who cared, a prideful sort who didn't sneer at those from difficult or different walks of life. The man could be a walking stack of contradictions, but at heart, he was a man who loved a good cigar and the good things in life, and the challenge of a really good math problem.

Face believed in me when I didn't believe in myself, and it took years for me to accept the force of nature he claimed to be. Looking back through my inbox, the man was not short with encouragement, or exhortations to send me my latest address so he could send me a postcard or letter. Knowing now that he was slowly losing his sight, and of the challenges transitioning from sighted to blind can bring to communications I'm honored that he went to that kind of trouble for me.

The man could write - one only has to look at his node list to see that. But not just that: the man had the courage to pull his heart out and put it on paper, and the skill to make you bleed and weep along with it, or to laugh and be uplifted by the light he cast on the world. He could argue - good god, could he argue.

There's too many good memories of food and conversation, and getting to plumb the depths of that brilliant man's brain, but if I had to choose a memory, I'll remember him smoking cigars with custo and buddy Rob outside of the Bier Baron. I'll remember the beers we drank in that dim, beer can decorated basement, the fine conversation: the opera, the cream puffs, and Face, smiling and drinking his hefeweizen: holding court amongst some of the best story-tellers amongst my family and friends. It's an honor I'll never forget.

Godspeed, Face. May the nurses have been exceptionally fine, with double majors in astrophysics to match the medical training.

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