When I wasn’t calling him by his real name of Doug, I called him either HMO’Keefe or Dragonman (sometimes shortened to DMan.) The former was a nickname of his choosing based on an historical character. The latter, and the subject of this blather, is my nickname for him. Once in a great while, I called him Boneman which was his online moniker when he wasn’t using HMO’Keefe.
I don’t really remember how it got started.
We met on an anthropology listserv (a kind of online forum.) I was the middle-aged undergraduate student with no fear and he was the gentle scientist. As is my wont, I blasted into the group with questions and commentary. He was one of the first to respond. In his gentle manner, he told me I might want to tone it down a bit. I said, and I’m pretty sure this is exact at least in meaning, “Ah hell, y’all are hollering ‘fresh meat’ and loving every second of my nonsense.” He laughed. The group gave me a hard time, but they gave everyone a hard time. They also seemed to like me. I’m kind of likeable on some days. Doug became my academic mentor.
With respect to the listserv, I think, he said something along the lines of “I’ll help slay the dragons.”
I said, “You are the dragon! And, besides, I’ll slay my own dragons, thank you very much.”
We were friends a good while before we were lovers. During that friend phase, he was the Dragon in the Computer. It wasn’t until later when we both left our marriages that we became a couple. I don’t know when it was that we went from platonic to romantic, but I do know when, where and how it was consummated. Most of our time together was spent 800 miles apart. I remember our 3D meetings in vivid color.
I think the nickname tickled him. He adopted Dman. I have mixed CDs he put together for me labeled A Dman Compilation. I called him DragonMan. I had no interest in slaying the dragon, but I may have tried to tame him. He had a stubborn streak particularly with respect to his leukemia and the ensuing chaos. There was friction. Oddly enough, I was the fire breathing one.
For Mother’s Day this year he gave me a gift certificate to a gardening catalog. After much fretting and carrying on, I chose the lawn dragon. I didn’t tell him what I ordered. I wanted him to be surprised. At the time, I was sure it was priced too high and would be too small. I was wrong. It’s quite substantial, just the right size, and a fitting memorial. It was delivered a few days after his death.
I put it out Monday, finally, just before the first snowfall of the year. I set it amidst a bed of white stones. The stones are temporary. This spring I will plant the area with Irish Moss.
I bought one small clump of the moss this year and plopped it in the yard to see if it would thrive, just survive, or plain old die. It has thrived and is remarkably beautiful. I was loathe to buy more than one as it was expensive and I need about 20 of them, but since it’s doing so well I’ll get what I need or maybe more. I’ll probably have to take out a mortgage to fund this, but it will be spectacular.
I enjoyed seeing the dragon frosted with snow this morning. As much as DragonMan bitched about it, I think he liked snow. I don’t think he could have done 30 years in Boston otherwise.
I miss him, but the dragon makes me smile much the same way he did.
I typed the draft of this post on a Neo2. The Neo is a nifty little keyboard with a small screen. It can hold 8 small files. Allegedly it’s all the rage with writers, although designed for classrooms. It weighs next to nothing, is cheap, uploads to word processing programs easily, and nobody would be interested in stealing it unless you’re in a room full of writers. My dad showed me his and I drooled all over it, so he gave me one for my birthday.
It’s great for dragging out to the garden, or the auto shop waiting room, or any place that a laptop might take a beating. It runs on AA batteries and is just a little gem. If it breaks, or is lost or is stolen, you haven’t lost your whole life. It’s a nifty little tool and I’m quite impressed with it. It reminds me of my misspent youth when I worked in a law office on IBM’s first electronic typewriters. They too had a tiny memory, but were tremendously useful for storing paragraphs or legal descriptions used over and over in a case. I think I love this little thing.
http://www.renlearn.com/neo2/default.aspx (Aw damn, like they’re discontinuing you them in the states.)