Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Most Interesting Man

My stomach acting up all day every day for over a month, I narrowed the cause down to my morning cup of coffee — too much acid, and determined this morning, to give up coffee.

That resolve ended by 10:47, when I got the coffee pot going and had my first cup of the devil’s brew at 11:01.

I’m sick and tired of feeling queasy, but breaking my caffeine addition is something I’m going to have to ease into — try try try until something clicks.

I also find myself snacking a little too much, but the source of that is coming from stress associated with something happening that has me torn between being relieved, when I should be sad. Though, I do think I’m a little bit of both.

That something is that the most interesting man I’ve ever been in a serious relationship with has passed away.

Why in the world would I feel somewhat relieved that someone has passed away you ask.

Well, that’s because, a few weeks ago, I’d mentioned to Trainer that I was not sleeping well — waking up at 1:00, 3:00, 4:00, because I had a feeling there was going to be a death and that "I’m pretty sure it’s not me".

Thinking I’d not have the feeling unless it was someone close, i.e., someone in the family, I’d begun to think it might be grandson-in-law’s elderly dad.

Then, on Sunday, I had the thought to check the Facebook page of my old boyfriend, the actor/writer and found a Remembering/Memorialized Account.

Contacting his daughter, I learned he’d passed away suddenly, unexpectedly, and his family was reeling because they were all present and watched when he "Had a really bad fall … Fell backwards from coming up the steps from the basement to the kitchen".

What followed was a fractured skull, internal brain bleeding, spine fracture, not recognizing anyone, helicoptered to a hospital where family was ultimately told he would no longer be able to communicate ever again, was going to be on oxygen the rest of his life, along with a feeding tube.

The family had struggled with the implications, whether Jim would want to live like that, and ultimately Jim’s life ended with his "passing away peacefully through comfort measures".

I didn’t ask what "comfort measures" meant, because I was pretty well stunned at how Jim’s life, at 62 years of age, had ended with a fall.

I’ve blogged previously about how a fall is the No. 1 concern for us seniors, after having seen first-hand how it has changed the active life of so many in the complex to inactive, even death.

I feel enormously guilty that I’m relieved this passing wasn’t family but, at the same time, sad it was Jim.

Not only was Jim the most interesting man I've ever been in a serious relationship with, but he was also the smartest.

Late in life, he earned several degrees … in history, theology and surprisingly, criminal justice, and was thisclose to obtaining his PhD when he passed away.

Why a degree in criminal justice was a surprise will become clear as you read on.

Jim was divorced when we met, with an annoying ex-wife in Los Angeles, who’d given him a daughter and an ex-girlfriend in Mexico, who’d given him a son.

After our relationship ended on a positive note, Jim relocated to Mexico, married that baby’s mama, added an additional son and daughter to the mix, became owner operator of a hot dog stand, ran in 2012 as Democratic candidate to the U.S. House representing the 11th Congressional District of Texas, taught English to Chinese students via an online setup, became an Untenured Professor teaching college courses. Just super smart.

His path through life began with a stint in the Army, after which he became a DEA Agent.

From there, as a naughty Agent, he spiraled down to a stint in federal prison.

Back in ’91, his cellmate was the former police officer labeled "The most corrupt cop in L.A."

A lot has happened in the cop world since then so, though the infamous cellmate is still in prison, I’m sure others have taken the title.

At any rate, after Jim was released from prison, he made his living as a part-time actor, author.

During an annual visit to my Shaman, he saw a "James" and a "Robert" in my future. "One of them in law or show business — film production, something like that, maybe something a little bit less but has been making money at it … you will meet in a place where ideas are being discussed — he’s an educated man — going to meet him not far from a school".

Of course, I poo poo’d it at the time because, just like now, I wasn’t interested. But low and behold, a few weeks later at the Bicycle Fair in the Long Beach Promenade Amphitheater, I met Jim.

I didn’t connect the dots until months later when I realized Jim’s Christian name was "James", that I’d met him at the Amphitheater (a place where ideas were discussed by scholars and philosophers) which amphitheater just happened to be located half a block away from a big charter school.

At that time Jim — good looking, Irish, educated was, as I said, a former Agent of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms (Law) currently making his living as a bit actor (show business) while writing and promoting himself as a production company (film production).

The Shaman got it on all points.

It was an intense relationship, in a good way, but when it got too serious and a decision had to be made, I decided Jim had too much baggage, and I did the smart thing and chose sound logic — staying single, living alone over companionship. We parted as good friends and kept in contact for years.

I'm really sorry to see Jim go out the way he did. He had so many plans for his future, and was working hard on getting that PhD, and getting back in shape — diet, exercise, got up to weeklong treks along the Appalachian Trail.

I've lived a life, so there's one other serious relationship out there, which was before Jim.

That one did not end well, but only because the guy was immature and a lawyer — and you know how lawyers like to win; plus, he's an Arab — and you know they have an attitude as to how women are to be subservient. Being a lawyer and an Arab, the idea of a woman breaking up with him was unforgivable.

We did not end on friendly terms, and though our paths have crossed a time or two, he remains bitter all these many years later.


  1. Oh Gosh, so sorry you've lost your friend. Life's exits do have interesting versions. (Nursey wise, it sounds like a bit of blood pressure changes or quick dizziness that caused the move backwards.) That event is pretty common. Standing around stairs while it happens isn't so common. Sounds like he was really injured. "Comfort measures," means keeping him as comfortable as possible while his body continues the hard work of shutting down and stopping. Some meds and care procedures ease the pain and anxiety of trying to breath when the body doesn't want to do so anymore. Sounds like hospice care without the time to officially sign him up for it. (As a hospice nurse, such a thing happens, and every caregiver, doc and pharmacist just cooperate and do what's right for the patient.) Please know that it sounds like he had good care, and at least family members didn't prevent what sounds like a definite outcome. Remember the good times.
    Yep, good thing you got rid of the lawyer guy.
    Hugz, Linda in Kansas

    1. Thanks for that explanation of comfort care. It was fortunate family was with him when he had the fall, and were there for him in the end, even though he had no recognition. I'd have rather lawyer guy and I had remained friends, but Oh Well.

  2. It sounds like Jim had a very, very interesting life, full of both highs and lows. It's a testament to both people when a serious relationship can end on a positive note, and then be followed by friendship. My condolences to his family and to you as his friend.

    And lawyers? Gawd, they're the WORST. Never get involved with a lawyer!

    1. LOL, lawyers AND cops. Yes, Jim had a super interesting life. Made for some great conversations.

  3. I love coffee too. I could and have do a pot of coffee when home on weekends. But during the week have cut it too two cups before work. I couldn't imagine no coffee. Parish the word!!!!!!!

    1. I'm an all day sipper. One big cup, reheated and sipped on all day. Going to be tough cutting back or out, even though it's bad for me.

  4. He sounds like an amazing human. So sorry for your loss.

    1. Thank you, Bob. Such a sad ending for an Irishman with the gift of gab to no longer be able to be aware or to speak.

  5. If you Google low acid coffee, you might find something that will give you the caffeine fix without messing with your stomach.

    1. I had to give up Starbucks some time ago. I'm now on Bulletproof which, up until now, has been going okay. In checking ingredients in other products, I'm thinking Margaret may be right. It's not the coffee.

  6. I'm sorry for the loss of a big piece of your past. Rick and I both have that "dream" and we call around to see who has passed. Some tell me it's a gift, sometimes I feel it's not a gift but a burden to know this when no one else does. It's an eerie feeling to me. Are you sure it's the coffee? Could it be something you are eating? Trying to save your coffee for you. :-)

    1. After having experienced a "knowing" more times than not, I'll have to go along with burden because it sometimes extends way beyond family happenings. On the other hand, it has prepared me for what's to come and, in the case of my sister and her oldest son, led me to accept a family gathering I otherwise would have said no to, because I sensed they had not long here and felt I should have that contact with them before they moved on. As far as coffee, tracing back to what I've been eating for the last month, I find there's baking soda and "leavening" in gluten free bisquick. I don't know what leavening is, but my gut doesn't respond well to baking soda. So, I'll eliminate that, see how it goes, before I try to give up coffee. Funny though, gluten free bisquick hasn't bothered me up until now. Perhaps it's been building up.

  7. Sounds like you've had just as interesting of a life.

    1. It's been somewhat of a wild ride and continues to be so :-)

  8. I gave up coffee once by replacing it with a cup of hot lemon water. It lasted a little while, but I really really like my coffee in the morning. Now it is the only vice I have left (hahahaha) so I'm keeping it to the end but then again, it is not bothering my stomach.

    1. I too feel like coffee is all I have left, LOL. Fortunately, it's looking like it was the gluten free bisquick, not the coffee.