Ten Years Gone

Great remembrance, Gerard. It *is* hard to believe it's been ten years (and fifteen since Blair!) My online interactions with Tom were nearly always combative, but our f2f encounters were always cordial and congenial. In the last years, I found myself agreeing with him more than not. The WeLL lost an important ingredient when Tom died. He supplied a much-needed counterpoise to the self-important hivemind orthodoxy that was an ever-present risk then and is the current state of affairs today.

He was maddeningly contrary, but his critical analysis set the gold standard for puncturing doctrinaire thought balloons. He annoyed the hell out of me, and I admired him for it.

Posted by Alan Chamberlain at July 25, 2005 8:17 AM

A tart and poignant start to the day: thanks.
Carpe, indeed.
And speaking of carping:
"only the interest can be paid, never the principle"
I point out gently that you meant "principal"...

Posted by Deborah at July 25, 2005 9:00 AM

Thanks for the comments and thanks for the corrections. Both appreciated.

Posted by Gerard Van Der Leun at July 25, 2005 9:21 AM

A lovely remembrance indeed, Gerard. I felt Tom very palpably for the first couple of years after his death. Then the presence faded. I like to think he found a new job, scenario planning in the Betelgeuse galactic sector.

You didn't _fail_ Tom in his final days. Don't reproach yourself on that account. You gave him something nobody else could give him, something he'd always yearned for -- Rules of the Net. You were a good friend to him. Never think otherwise.

Posted by Patrizia DiLucchio at July 25, 2005 9:48 AM

I sparred with Tom several times on the Well but when I met him in person over Chinese with Loca, he was much friendlier than I expected and still damn smart of course.

I too miss his contrarian intelligence. The Well is a less interesting, more sadly politically correct place without him.

You too, Gerard. Though I don't if Tom would have stuck around any more than you did.

Posted by Jack Trainor at July 25, 2005 2:54 PM

Thank you, Gerard.

Absent friends!

Posted by Hank Roberts at July 25, 2005 4:02 PM

Tom gave many parting gifts to his friends. Some were not so obvious at the time.

Andrew and I visited Tom and Nana about a month and a half before Tom died. Andrew was 14 years old. Tom showed Andrew his cool computer stuff and they talked about many things -- Tom's work as a futurist, the history of the world, video games and, of course, the USMC. Tom made a big impression on Andrew, who always said that Tom was the smartest person he ever met. Years later, when misfortune struck Andrew, the image of Tom's dignity and courage stuck with him and we talked about Tom, again.

Posted by Anita Brenner at August 5, 2005 8:47 AM