Grade 13. Leamington District Secondary School. Cafeteria table.
I am blathering about Gillette's new Mach 3 razor. No one, I explain, needs three blades to shave their face. The commercials are ridiculous. Only an idiot would truly believe they need this new beard-removal tool.
My friend Jeff has been listening patiently. His bright blue eyes twinkle.
Jeff: I think it's a great idea. I can't wait to shave with it.
Me: Don't be a dupe! They're tricking you into buying a much more expensive razor that does the exact same thing as your old one!
Jeff: My old razor doesn't do a great job. I have to go over my face twice, sometimes three times to get a close shave. I'm going to buy it.
He is so nice. I just want to hug him. He is not offended in the least that I just effectively called him an idiot and a dupe. He just wants a closer shave.
I lost contact with Jeff after high school. Still, for the next 14 years, every time the men's shaving industry came out with the Next Great Razor, I thought to myself: Jeff would love that.
Jeff tracked me down by email this summer and we corresponded regularly for a few weeks. He said he was sorry we'd lost contact. I was sorry, too. We agreed it wasn't anyone's fault. Just one of those things.
Jeff died this weekend. It was very sudden.
Jeff and I had a lot in common. We both married young. We both started our families young. We both lived far from our families. We didn't see eye to eye on everything, but we agreed on the important things.
I don't have any profound thoughts about life and death. I will certainly miss that man. He was one of the good guys.
I remain a skeptic about the Mach 3, but for the rest of my life, I will greet each new leap forward in razor technology with great enthusiasm. For Jeff. He'd love that.