Today’s post will be almost exclusively about my best friend, Harvey Forsyth, Jr., who passed away exactly one year ago. Tonight, there will be a happy hour for The Harvey Forsyth Memorial Fund at Field House from 6pm to 9pm. Please do your best to be there.
pal [pal] n. 1. a very close, intimate friend; comrade; chum 2. an accomplice
So, for today’s post, I was looking for a cool, obscure word that would sort of sum up how close Harv and I were. But none of the words I looked at came close to the word above: pal.
When I read the first part, “a very close, intimate friend,” it made me chuckle. Harv and I were not shy about talking about how great we thought the other was, but if he ever heard me describe him as “a very close, intimate friend,” he would’ve said something like, “Dude, that sounds sort of gay.” And then I’d say it all of the time just to piss him off.
But it was the second definition that really made me smile: “an accomplice.” Harv and I were each other’s accomplices for the better part of 20 years. One of us needed to talk about something, the other was there. One of us needed a best man for our weddings, the other was there. One of us needed to blow off steam, have some Miller Lites and watch a Flyers’ game, the other was there. One of us needed whatever, it didn’t matter what it was, the other was there. One way or another.
And whatever we did, whatever happened to be going on, we laughed our way through most everything. And, holy shit, we laughed a lot. Harvey was my favorite person to make laugh. It seemed I could tell him any story and he would crack up. He knew me so well that he understood why something irked me or amused me or angered me. Hearing him laugh will always be the number one thing I miss most.
Which leads me to today’s quotation.
“Well, this is fucking depressing. Josh, say something funny.” ↔ Harvey Forsyth
When I think about all of the things Harv said to me, that line above is my favorite. A couple of our closest friends from college came to visit him in the hospital and after they left, our friend Phil stayed behind to talk about some affairs he was handling for Harv and April. I asked Harv if he wanted me to step out and take a walk while they discussed some very private matters. He peshawed me and told me to sit down. Obviously, I won’t go into to the details of what was discussed but it all centered around taking care of the business of Harv’s final wishes. At the time, it was a mostly hypothetical conversation because none of us truly thought the end was near. I sat silently and intently listened to every word, wishing it was four other people, any four other people, sitting in that fucking room. When the discussion wound down and the inevitable awkward silence fell on the room, Harv turned to me and said, “Well, this is fucking depressing. Josh, say something funny.” I said, “I stopped listening to you guys about seven minutes ago.” Not the funniest thing I’ve ever uttered, not by a long shot, but it had the desired effect. Everyone laughed, including Harv. And, even though, I’m sure I did make him laugh again after that, it’s the last time I actually remember.
One time, Harv and I shanghaied a bootleg video of a Jane’s Addiction concert from the Hammerstein Ballroom ’97. We watched that goddamn tape about twice a month for two years until Harv’s conscience finally got the better of him and he returned it to its rightful owner. Here’s a fantastic, albeit not the best quality, clip from that show.
→ I guess I’d heard that R.E.M. had broken up but it didn’t register until I read this interview with Mike Mills.
→ So after a mainly serious post today, here’s a little lighthearted romp of a slideshow featuring celebrities who are not what they used to be.