Disorderly Content


Losing a friend

Today I got a call from a representative of the Glendale, California Police Department. They found my cell number in the phone of my friend Kevin Kenney and wanted to know if I could point them at any of Kevin's family. It seems that he had died.

I first met Kevin at RIT in 1973 or 4. We proto-nerds in the Computer Science Department had begun to organize, and Kevin, though a Chemistry major, became one of us. We were nerds before nerds became cool, and if it been left to us, it never would have become cool. But I digress.

I lost track of Kevin after college. We ran into each other again in the early 80s at a printing convention in Long Beach, where RIT had a presence and decided to hold an alumni event. Our friendship really grew there, and for the next several years we did a lot of nerdly and not nerdly things together. Kevin had worked for a company that designed toys and videogames, which got us entry into the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas years before it was opened up to the general public. We played tennis - badly - three or four times a week.

A few years later I moved from The Valley to Silicon Valley. We kept in touch online and by phone. He introduced me to Farscape, and was responsible for my attending years and years of Farscape conventions over the years. He was the cause of many of my interests and obsessions, and, I dare say, I did the same in return. Neither of us was ever going to be one of the popular crowd. I think he was more okay with that than I.

We got more distant over the last couple of years. That was my fault, although I'd like to think that I forced him to confront some bad life decisions he'd been avoiding for a while. Whether or not I deserve any credit, he did get back on track and was doing much better. I don't know how he died; I suspect his health did him in but will wonder. But I mourn him; he was a good, kind and generous soul. He deserved better in life than he got. I hope I gave more to him than I received. It couldn't have been enough.

Kevin P. Kenney
1955 - 2010
Requiescat in Pace

Update 09/05: One of Kevin's remaining friends tracked me down yesterday via Google to give me the news. We talked about Kevin, and she filled me in on his last days. When I'd last spoken to him, he seemed to be making small progress on getting his life back on track. Sadly, it didn't last; his life became the particular kind of hell you can't imagine for anyone you know and respect. I'm angry that I didn't know, angry at him and at myself for not keeping an eye on someone so obviously troubled. But what would I have done? What could I have done? Am I my brother's keeper, especially when his real brothers weren't up to the task? Or was any help we might have offered too little to make a real difference? I'll be asking myself that for a long time to come.