I don’t normally write stuff like this on tumblr, and I feel selfish indulging in my own thoughts, but I can’t stop thinking about Adam. Adam was a friend of my brother’s. They did improv together at UC Berkeley, and Adam was going to move into my brother’s apartment when he got back from studying abroad in London. Adam died as a result of a car accident on Sunday. He had just turned 21.
I met Adam a couple years ago when he joined jericho!, the improv troupe my brother, Evan, was on at UC Berkeley. I hung out with him many of the times I visited Evan up in Berkeley, and, since Adam was from the LA area I saw him a lot during the summers when he’d drop by the UCB Theatre. I feel like I’m regurgitating all the cliches you say about wonderful people who died young, but you know what, they’re all true. Adam was a really special kid. My girlfriend, Heather, and I were obviously thrilled any time we got to hang out with my brother, but if his friends were with him, we were always extra excited to see Adam. he was just one of those people who you knew within minutes of meeting was exceptional. He was smart, and kind, and outgoing, and more mature than most college kids. An old soul. A great listener. He was just an incredibly decent person who attacked everything with excitement and positivity. And he loved improv.
Over the few years I knew him, I had the fortune of coaching him several times and playing with him at the UCB jam. He was so funny and fearless on stage, and he listened to his fellow performers with an eager grin – as if he couldn’t wait to agree and add to whatever they were about to say. The last time I talked to him was outside the UCB Theatre here in Los Angeles where he and Evan’s other friend Jeff had just come to play in the Jam. I’ve coached and taught improv for a while, and every once in a while you get a student who makes you take pause. You think, “Ooh, this one’s gonna be fun to watch. They get it.” Adam was one of those students. I had no doubt he’d go on to do great things – he was just one of those rare people that you instantly like, and when he took the stage audiences were immediately on his side. I was so excited about getting to know him as he became an adult, as he found his comedic voice. He was just so funny.
It’s hard not to be mad about Adam’s passing. When I found out, it filled me with that kind of directionless anger that makes you sick to your stomach because there’s nothing to do with it. It just is. We’re all going to die and some of us sooner than others. That’s it. Cosmic indifference. I got the news via a text from my brother while teaching a sketch comedy class and it felt soulless and empty to bottle up my emotional response and press on for the remaining hour of class. I called Evan as soon as I was out and we talked through it. He was in Adam’s room at the time. It was just surreal.
When I got home, I instinctively went to Adam’s Facebook page and was struck by the outpouring of comments friends and acquaintances had left on his wall. All of them well meaning, but many dealing with grief in their own personal way. I guess that’s just how we grieve now. Privately, but in public. Like a communal digital shiva. Close friends saying goodbye, friends of friends commenting on posts asking if it was a joke, or engaging in replies with each other asking what happened, or wishing condolences to the person who made the post, even if their post was just an impersonal “hey, I didn’t know you very well but you were nice RIP.” At first some of the comments felt superficial, but the more I think about it, I realize it says more about Adam than it does about the commenters. He was that kind of person who you just wanted to have a connection to. So many people came out of the woodwork to leave a comment on his wall - you could look at it and say they just want attention, or they want to be part of a big event, but I think the reality is that Adam was such a magnetic personality that you just had to say something.
I’m not sure what the takeaway is here. Life is short. Life is just really, painfully, unfairly short. Though we crossed paths for only a few short years, I’m so thankful I got to know Adam. If you knew him too, you know how great he was. If you didn’t know him, I’m truly sad you won’t get a chance. I’ll always remember how excited Adam was about life, and how compassionate he was toward everyone he came into contact with. Maybe that’s the takeaway. When I go, I’d like to be remembered for the same things. I’d like to be a little more like Adam. I think we all would.