[Photo of Harry from "The story so far" June 30, 2019]
I hate it when a blogging buddy passes away. And one of my faves did so earlier this week on August 27th -- Harry Hamid of The Rise and Fall of Harry Hamid.
Harry wrote prose -- strangely compelling, beautifully twisted, prose. He would come at subjects sideways, entertaining us with his surreal details, seducing us into entering his often macabre world of clever verbiage. His was a unique voice and I enjoyed reading his short stories very much.
Like many writers, Harry wanted to experience the world in other people's skins. When I first unknowingly encountered him a few years ago in the blogosphere, he was blogging as Katy, a beautiful, homeless lesbian who loved obscure rock bands and had an unfortunate love life (Katy's wife ran off with Katy's brother). Harry had also, it turned out, written other blogs in the personas of two different women.
A couple of years ago, when Harry came clean and revealed all (so to speak), he undertook to write his new blog in his own persona. We went with him on a new journey involving his struggles with love, life, alcohol, cigarettes and the Green Party. Then, tragically this Spring, there was a heart attack/stroke that nearly killed him, a cancer diagnosis, surgery, chemo, failing health and now death, as his brother advised us in a final post on his blog. Harry posted personal photos of himself in hospital, so thin, so frail, yet he always fought on, still writing on occasion.
A year ago, Harry noted in a blog post that this particular week in August is when everything bad always seems to happen to him --
"This week is my annual near death experience.
Jamie left. You know this. It’s been six years today. I almost died, five years next Monday. And it’s hurricane season in Houston.
In my life where nothing ever happens, everything that happens happens this week. There was the year when my car blew up. Yes, that one. I remember. I said, “Of course it did,” and all my co-workers laughed. At me. They said, “You’re superstitious after all, Harry.” That night, our server room exploded and the firemen ran up twenty-seven flights of stairs, each one wearing a hundred pounds of equipment and nothing was left but the ashes. The mayor came out. In tacky pajamas. I walked out under helicopters and the world stank sharp with electrical fire.
This was no surprise. I’d warned them. This was the anniversary of everything.
Nothing is cursed and no week and no one. You will always find a logical explanation. That’s the rule. No magic, no magic at all. So okay then, let’s have it then. I’m game.
Logical Explanation 1. There exists a strange cabal of very cruel people who are targeting me. They blew up my truck and they blew up the server room, damn them. Made Jamie leave, and Ruby. Got Veva to marry. Chose the day for my new firm to gobble up my old. Alright.
But what about the hurricanes? What about my total loss of platelets and sitting at lunch, watching my arm fill up with blood in 2013? What a strange cabal that would be.
This is the part where I get to Logical Explanation 2 and it’s the one where, in my paranoid state, I’m bringing it all upon myself. My paranoia stirs up storms! Breaks underground pipes. It kills my grandfather and the world goes up in sympathetic explosions. No good, no good, that seems even more fantastical than a curse, Occam’s razor and all that jazz.
I’ll stay in, with the lights out, this year. Maybe I will call a priest. A handyman. An anesthetist. Dial 9 and 1 on my phone in preparation. In expectation. While I’m waiting."
And now in 2019, during his bad luck anniversary week, Harry has indeed died. Rest in peace, my friend.
But you know, a very real part of me hopes that he has simply pulled another literary fast one on us -- that in a little while, he'll reappear in some new persona in a new blog, saying "Sorry! ha ha! THIS is the real me now!"
Wouldn't that be great? Yeah, yeah it would.
Universe, make it so.