I think he’d appreciate that I resorted to a children’s book title for this blog, as he was one of the biggest kids I ever met.
But let me loop back a bit. I’ve been a very, very lucky person. Death hasn’t hung around me much lately. Yes, all of my grandparents are gone, but I’ve had more than 25 years to adjust. I’ve lost one cousin – and, eventually, his parents (but they were estranged from my immediate family to the point where I didn’t know my uncle was dead for more than a year).
Point is, I don’t have a lot of recent experience dealing with death.
This morning, I was going about my routine when I noticed that one of my friends in the Richmond improv community had changed his profile picture to a black square. I made note to keep an eye on this, but went on with my day… I headed off to my weekend gig doing production for a couple of Richmond radio stations.
About midway through the session, I checked in on Facebook, to find several of my improv friends talking about one of our mutual friends in the past tense. That black-square profile picture quickly made far too much sense.
Thomas George is… was… is… damn, that hurts to sort out.
He was an incredible talent. More importantly, he was an incredible person. He was one of those guys who everybody liked, and who liked everybody. He was always positive, encouraging, and just plain fun to be around.
I saw him perform Friday night – two shows at Richmond’s CSz Improv Theatre. The second show was the one I really went to see – Thomas was trying to reinvent the improv format a bit. There are two “official” forms of improv, short and long. Thomas liked to call his Overtime Improv troupe “medium form” – actually, there is no form to describe the group other than a group of friends having a blast and bringing the audience along for the ride.
He was so proud of them, too… he’d talk about them after OTI shows, taking note of the little things each of them did.
I once called him Richmond’s “mad improv scientist”. OTI’s going to be his best creation – it’s just devastating that he won’t be here to see it.
I’ve been in a fog all day. I can’t even imagine what his family and friends, and the people who performed with him, or learned from him, or who made lifelong friendships through one of his troupes, are going through.
Tomorrow night, he was supposed to be part of CSz’s New Year’s Eve festivities. The show will go on, of course. But it won’t be the same.
Sometime in 2013, if everything works out, I’ll be playing the Mr. Voice role at CSz again. One of the reasons I wanted to do it was to play with Thomas from the audio booth. It sucks that I won’t get that chance…
…but that’s my selfish take, of course.
The bigger picture is that Richmond lost one of its brighter lights last night.
I’m just glad I got a chance to know him for a couple of years, and I’m glad to have gotten to know the people I’ve met through him.. I only wish I had the chance to say that last sentence when he was here to hear it.