Monday, November 28, 2005

Good-bye Fugie, continued.

I just got word this morning that an old friend of mine, Mike Fuge, died last night after his car crashed into a house on his way home from playing racquetball. An autopsy revealed that Mike had a diabetic seizure and subsequent heart attack. His parents believe he might have been drviing himself to the hospital because he wasn't feeling well.

It seems incredibly inappropriate to write about this just hours after getting the horrible news, but this is what I do...I write. If it is inappropriate, anyone that knew Fugie would almost assuredly know he would rubricate anything out of the bounds of decorum and/or sensibility.

As my old college roommate Libby put it, "Fuge was a character."

True, but as much an understatement as Buddy Hackett was a comic or Ted Williams played a little baseball.

Mike had a big personality, ruffled a lot of feathers, and always stayed true to himself, yet was one of those guys you could really open up to. As silly as he was at times, he had a pure heart and a genuine conscience. he cared about his friends, people in general and the state of things. He had strong opinions and liked to debate. He had this crazy laugh that drew attention, often unwanted. He liked to cheer in the spots where most were quiet and always always always, kept things interesting.

I recall having a few beers with Mike and another friend in a little South Boston bar about ten years ago called "The Abbey", a real townie bar, to say the least. Colorful behavior is not really appreciated or encouraged here, especially from outsiders. Yet, as the song "Kung Fu Fighting" began blaring, Fuge took to the center of the floor and began acting out terrifically bad karate moves in the jam-packed establishment. My friend Mike Daly, a 'local', was mortified, and probably not unwisely, feared just a bit for Fuge's safety.

Mike liked to yell stuff out the window of cars, preferably your car and in your neighborhood, if possible. Favorite shouts included, "NAMBLA RULES!!"

Explanations of why this behavior was cracked could never be heard over Fugie's roar of laughter.

Mike also liked to join in conversations with strangers by using cliches that didn't really fit into the flow of things.

He loved to approach someone he had never met at a wedding or party and ask, "So how've ya been?" or jump in the middle of a conversation he had no involvement in and rant, "now WAIT a minute!" or "you gotta be KIDDIN' me?"

The stunned people's dropped jaws would always be greeted by Fugie's trademark laugh which can't really be described in print.

Another of mike's favorite moves was breaking from the crowd and running full speed with a similar style to Paul Michael Glaser's "Starsky" character from "Starsky and Hutch" to get to whatever the destination was a few seconds ahead his friends. His feet would slap the concrete twice as loudly as neccesary, his face held the intense glare of an Olympic runner. he would keep a straight face as long as possible (usually a few seconds) then break into his trademark laugh.

A character.

As silly as he was, when the chips were down, Fugie was a true friend and someone you knew you could rely on. If he knew you were hurting, he would become serious in an instant, and had mastered an ability that is all too easily forgotten today- he listened. he asked questions that reflected genuine concern and showed he had really listeened to every word you had said, and he really cared. As much as he goofed around, he took time to let you know you were special to him and that he appreciated your friendship and enjoyed spending time with you.

I am going to miss Mike Fuge terribly.

I will always have the collection of hilarious moments given me by my friend Michael Fuge, and though I am greatly sadden by his exit, for each of those moments, I will always be grateful.

Thanks Fugie, it's been both a privilege and a pleasure knowing you.


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