I’ll try to avoid cliché, but for this post it’ll be difficult.
I have a friend named Brad. I met him in my first job out of college where we both started on the same infosec team at a credit card processing company. He was starting as a full-fledged firewall engineer, while I was coming in as a late night log monkey. I joked about this and he smiled and laughed.
Since that moment that’s mostly what I’ve seen Brad doing–smiling and laughing. He’s simply one of the nicest and most pleasant people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. His default state is smile, and his laugh is loud and full of commitment.
And I saw him just recently, in Vegas, at BlackHat/DEFCON. I apologized for enticing a bunch of our former teammates to come work for my current team. He smiled and laughed. No surprise there. And for the next couple of hours we chatted about random things, caught a couple of talks, and then split up.
I never caught up with him again that day, and when he got home one day later he collapsed due to one of his legs giving out. He’d had a small stroke. He was taken to the hospital, where he had a real one.
Half of his brain is currently not functioning, and the pressure continues to build. They can’t find a surgeon who wants to try to do the surgery to help. Doctor’s are saying that if he lives through the pressure complications he may one day be able to feed himself.
I wish I had gone to that last talk with him.
Open your address book and make some calls. Do it often. If there’s one thing in life to not mess up, it’s this.
[ Update: And now he’s gone. He died Sunday morning. I will miss him. ]