Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

March 22nd, 2009:

Mike Sargent 1969-2009

I am still sick and numb. My good friend Jim Strickland messaged me Friday morning to let me know that our mutual friend Mike Sargent had been killed by a 20-year-old drunk in a pickup truck Thursday night on his way home from work. I’ve been trying to get myself to write something here since then, and, well, failed.

I hadn’t known Mike very long. Jim introduced us a year or so ago, and we became fast friends, though Mike’s work schedule generally didn’t allow him to attend our semiregular Saturday night nerd parties. But my own schedule allowed Mike and me to do some geeky things like spend a couple of Monday afternoon hours recently at the moving sale of the enormous greasy pile of geek detritus known as OEM Parts in Colorado Springs, where I have found everything from exotic resistors to kite sticks. He and his wife Peggy cooked a spectacular Mardi Gras cajun feast for us back in February, and that was the last time I saw them. Mike and I were planning an expedition up into Fishers Canyon when the weather improved, and I am going to miss that opportunity greatly. Mike was beginning to explore his powers as an SF writer, and we were already discussing a promising concept for a Drumlins story targeted at the shared world anthology I still intend to do.

Mike was spectacularly intelligent, and unusual in a way that matters a great deal to me: He was a great raving optimist, with a faith in the benevolence of the future that I strive for but often fail to achieve. He contributed to The Speculist, a podcast-oriented futurist site where the optimism is so intense it approaches mania. When I’ve had enough of phony climate catastrophism and Obamanomics, I go spend half an hour there to get my spirits back up. The Speculist belongs on my blogroll and yours, and deserves a regular read. (I don’t technically have a blogroll and need to establish one soonest, for this and other good topic-oriented sites.)

I’d say more but I’m not sure I can. I’m at that age where my older friends have begun to die, simply because that’s the part of the curve that they’re on. The curve is changing shape in response to our still-early efforts at life extension–one of Mike’s favorite topics–and had Mike been allowed to remain on the curve, he might well have hit the point where the curve breaks free of the grave and goes asymptotic for parts (truly) unknown. I’ll give it a good shot but I’m sure I’m already too old for that, just as sure as Mike was way too young to die.

Farewell, good friend, and keep your faith in the future. You (and I) will live to see it, just not from here.