I lost a very close friend this week. it was sudden, it was unexpected, and it fucking sucks.
Dan Cherubin and I officially “met” on 26 June 2000 via email, as was the custom at the time:
My old roomie has been pestering me about your page for a bit. She said she’d give up her dyke-ness for you and that you and I were oddly similar. (Which makes me wonder what she was thinking about when she & I lived together…)
So, I have been meandering about your pages and there’s definitely some coincidence, though I think my pal was hoping we’d become eternal fuck buddies and invite her along on our misadventures as we tour the country and solve crime and help the with-it kids.
You can check out my webpage. There are assorted rants on various pages.
Pretty much from the very first minute it was like we’d known each other forever.
I realized pretty quickly that we had already crossed paths before on a queer punk mailing list I’d subscribed to for several years. Over the next few years, we corresponded regularly (daily at some points) and became quite good friends. Dan had a sense of humor and snark that mirrored my own, but he somehow always seemed nicer and less misanthropic about it all than I was (although he would have denied that). It was all but impossible not to love him. we probably should have had a torrid affair at some point, but that would have ruined everything, so I’m glad we didn’t.
We stayed in touch over the years–sometimes more successfully than others–through failed marriages for both of us, and through graduate school for me. Oh yeah. Did I mention that Dan was a librarian? A very well-regarded librarian? And (on occasion) a queer ska librarian? Well..he was all of these things. And he was probably more responsible than anyone for the fact that I’m now a librarian as well.
He was also a musician, an amazing cook, a tireless activist, and a lifelong learner beyond compare. Just for the record.
Anyway, we finally met in person in San Francisco in 2005, and then way too few times after that, though in recent years, I had visited him (and eventually his new partner) in New York on several occasions where we ate terrifically unhealthy food and visited bookstores upon bookstores, not to mention the occasional supermarket. Despite the fact that we were only ever in the same physical space maybe four or five times over seventeen years, I thought of Dan as one of my closest friends, especially in more recent years. Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard we were, in some perverse staging of The Mothers-in-Law (inside joke).
Dan had surgery to remove a malignant tumor about a month ago. He seemed to be doing pretty well at first and I was quite certain he would wind up cancer-free. I’m still pretty sure he would have. But that didn’t mean he was immune to a complicating infection that put him back in the hospital early this week and deprived me of one of my favorite people on the planet two days later. I don’t think anyone saw it coming.
I’m pissed off and sad and having a lot of trouble with this, as are all of Dan’s many, many friends. seriously, it seems like everybody in the fucking universe loved him.