April 20, 2006

Renaissance Man

If you are lucky in life you will have many, many friends. Some are close, some are stodgy, tried and true. Some are weird, some are WYSIWYG. And sometimes, if you are very lucky and very good at picking such a friend when they do come by, you will find one who is all of the above.

Such a friend of mine is a fellow by the name of, well, I'll call him Tom short for Thomas which is good because that happens to be his real name. I first met Tom in May of 2001 when I began some consulting work for an adolescent substance abuse treatment center. Tom was the director of operations. We soon became more than just nodding acquaintances, but not quite friends. Over the years however, a true friendship developed between me the wiser and younger and him the slightly older (he'll never see 59 years old again). Tom is a world class practical joker, but never the mean sort. Once, he took my picture and unbeknownst to me treated it with his many digital skills on Photoshop and making my head a perfect Chia Head. The kids in the facility noted that it really wasn't like me because I had this "great big bald spot" on the back of my head. One adolescent looked at the photo, then at me, then back at the photo and thought I could cover up the bald spot if I used Miracle Gro. Nice kid. Tom got a laugh out of that, and still does as a matter of fact.

In the very early part of our relationship, there was a fire alarm set off by one of the tar pots used in re-roofing the building. The fire department came out with the captain in one of the largest fire trucks I have ever seen in my life. I walked up to him to explain that it had been a false alarm but before I could even introduce myself he asked (in a rather ticked off voice) "Who's in charge here?"

Since I was only a consultant I pointed to the Director of Operations and said he is. Again in a stern and ticked off voice the Fire Captain asked "What's your name?" Tom, with out batting an eye or any sign of being dishonest said "George M. Roper" Thanks Tom!

Tom is also one of those guys that likes to do nice things for his friends when he is not pulling jokes. When I was diagnosed with cancer, Tom was there with encouragement, prayers and friendship. He visited me in the hospital every day that I was there and those visits were deeply appreciated. Tom commiserated with me when my hair started falling out because of the chemo-therapy and talked about having to cover my head when outside so the glare wouldn't blind pilots flying nearby. But he also took a photo and treated it with kindness, respect and true friendship. He put it up on the web and if you want to see what I really look like, click here. I told Tom that every time I watched it, I got a little weepy eyed. Initially he said only "Yeah!"

But telling stories of Tom's practical jokes and digital skills is not the purpose of this post, telling you about this great guy is.

Tom had a rough childhood, mother died of cancer when he was very young, dad was kind of cruel and abusive. Tom ran away from home at about 15 or so and lived in a car for a couple of years. Encouraged to join the Army by a judge who didn't think Tom was a bad boy (note: The judge didn't ask ME!!!) he enlisted and served with distinction.

Over the years, Tom has worked in a number of industries, most notably the exciting field of Art. Now, I'm not a serious connoisseur of art, but "I know what I like." I have a "chopped" Dali print, a number of signed and numbered prints of Itzchak Tarkay. But I digress, Tom has forgotten more about art than I will ever know. And so, he has opened his own online shop to sell quality art prints and posters. Works by Da Vinci, Picasso, Dali and Van Gogh. Works by Ansel Adams, Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera not to mention Andy Warhol and Monet. Great pieces at great prices. So, I've added a link to the jpeg at the upper left and if you click on it, it will take you to his site. I've also added a blogad in the side bar on the right. Browse around and see if you don't see something you like.

Full Disclosure: I don't get a nickel from Tom if you buy something, but I think that if you do, I will be very appreciative.

So, in part, this is to get even with you Tom, but in a big part it is also to tell you what a great friend you are.

Tom, I have to see you 5 days a week, but that is ok, I can take some anti-nausea medicine when I get home! ;-)

UPDATE: Tom, who in my world is King Digital is also an Ambassador for Coffee Cup software. He gave me a mini-cd with all kinds of cool programs a lot are free and the rest are available at substantial discounts. If you would like a copy of this CD, send an email with your name and address to this link, you won't regret it.

Posted by GM Roper at April 20, 2006 06:59 PM | TrackBack


I believe you have set a very good example before us. Too few of us laud our friends (and others we admire) publically. We ought to do that more. Even if it is just in front of their spouses and/or children.

Of course, I am NOT referring to the almost obligatory boilerplate introductions and such that one gets in biggish organizations conducting meetings and such. Those all smack of toadyism or pandering....which seem (to me) like the crowing is being done by someone that actually wants something in return.

So, readers, laud those people who you geniunely think are worthy. Even if you just call up your children and tell them your spouse is ACES and why.

And in conclusion, I think GM is one heck of a gent and NO, I don't want to borrow his car, get a loan, or anything else.

Like that.

Posted by tad at April 20, 2006 10:08 AM

Gentle Readers, Tad is another of my good friends. He and I both taught at the local Community College (and he is still there) and is one fine gentleman. I call him a friend as well.

Posted by GM Roper at April 20, 2006 08:08 PM

GM, you look exactly as I pictured you in my mind. That rarely happens. Eyes are truly the windows to the soul and yours are beautiful.

My best friend in the whole world is my husband. And I never hesitate to tell him so.

Posted by Oyster at April 21, 2006 06:38 AM

Finally...proof that you are an old bugger.....somehow I though you would look....wiser.:)

Posted by kender at April 21, 2006 08:04 AM

Kender, put on your glasses. I am.... WISER LOL

Posted by GM Roper at April 21, 2006 09:36 AM

ok ok ok Kender can get away wif sayin dat but I wont....lolz...thanks for the bootiful story GM..had to get mah Kleenex..dang!..:)

Posted by Angel at April 24, 2006 01:56 PM

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