Zach, a 34-year-old writer whom I and many friends and colleagues who attended the U. of Houston in the same era knew and admired, unexpectedly died this week. His passing touches a nerve (though I don't know if Zach would approve of a euphemism such as "passing," as he was more direct than that.) He is already missed, even by those such as myself who didn't know him well enough.
Zach and I did NOT hit it off when we first met, to say the least. I found him youthfully arrogant and he found me ridiculously old and stodgy (we were both right about each other!) But, since we both roamed the same bit of ground at the same time, we became FB friends, after we each left UH, and I came to respect and like Zach very very highly! I don't often suffer correction from friends ("stodgy" is the word I used above), but more than once, I leapt to accept some correction from him, because he was often right, and always stood up for others whom someone like myself seemed to treat unfairly. I was looking forward to someday being in the same room again with Zach, because I wanted to say to his face how much I'd come to enjoy knowing him, albeit through the public, epistolary form of FB. I regret having waited. Zach was a good man, whom I didn't know well enough, and whom I'll miss.