Here lies the remains of great Senator Vrooman,Whose head was as hard as the heart of a woman-Whose heart was as soft as the head of a hammer.Dame Fortune advanced him to eminence d--- her.We mourn the lossof Senator Cross,If he'd perished laterOur grief had been greaterIf he never had diedWe should always have cried.As he died and decayedHis corruption was stayed.Beneath this mound Charles Crocker now reposes;Step lightly, strangers- also hold your noses.The doctors they tried to hold William Stow back, butWe played at his graveside the sham and the sackbut.
2010 Update: A carved remembrance of a deceased loved one, meant to outlast the mourner as the departed would have wished.
Old Cheney's gone, his fate his hereAnd those who loved him need not fearHis disposition nor shed a tearUnless he gets the devil's ear.
Regarding yesterday: Again, my apologies for hijacking this blog for analog purposes. At Weirsdo's kind request, here is a little more about Jan, who passed on Monday, and a partial explanation of the poem and post. (This is long and not reading or not reading it all will bring no offense.)
First, basic history: In 1983, a 15-year-old pre-onset curmudgeon was working in a gas station, where cacophonous Jan and his well named first wife, Glori were customers. Jan owned a flower store and hired me away the next year. When I left for Deep Springs, he hired my younger brother, then my sister, my friend Eric, and when my friend Anton set up a computer consulting business, I think Jan bought a computer so he could hire Anton. He hired Anton's younger brother (oneandre in yesterday's comments) and, I think, Anton and Andre's younger brother, Arturo. By the time my youngest brother was old enough to work, I think Jan had lost his shop, but I'm pretty sure MacLean would have had a shift otherwise. As we grew up and did other things, Jan was always there to treat us like kings, leer at our girlfriends (my sister excepted) and mentor us in corruption, dissolution and how to break the law not for greed or malice but out of sheer, catastrophic carelessness.
Note to Pia: As you might have guessed, I was Jan's delivery driver in 1984 or 1985 and while I might wish to revise the truth and certainly did at the time, I'm confident I troubled no marriages. In my defense, this was not due to any lack of bad intent.
About Jan: There are three things that I think are most important in explaining Jan. First, he was a manic mad genius. His medium was floral design and at one time he owned one of the 20 largest flower shops in LA County, did the flowers for the NBA's L.A. Clippers, decorated celebrity homes for Christmas (for Jan, I have lain garland in Dolly Parton's bedroom, a dream come true, most certainly.)
Second, Jan was a thorough mess. He lost his shop, and earned a loss on almost every big decorating contract. He was generous with his time, advice and money far beyond his assets. If someone paid him $20,000 for an event, he would feel guilty until he'd spent $20,000 on flowers and overpaid 5 young people and all their friends to work with him, then thrown a party to celebrate the successful completion. His parties were legendary. I would not be surprised if at the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor's office, they have an actor to play Jan at trainings.
Third, Jan was the salt of the Earth. I have heard it said that in this life, people can so debauch themselves that their own parents won't accept them and even then, God loves them. Jan, too. From antisocial teenage cowboys, to alcoholic baseball players, to thieves who had stolen from Jan himself to the sick, addicted, immoral, needy, broke, lazy and doc, there was nothing wrong with anyone that Jan wouldn't greet them as a best friend and equal. As a result, he had some famous friends (sports stars, hollywood types) and some that would have been completely disreputable had they not been entirely anonymous. One measure of the affection people had for Jan is that almost my entire circle of Los Angeles friends and family is a subset of Jan's and every time three or more gather around Jan, at least one is a perfect stranger to me.
A few jokes from yesterday's verse partially explained: There were three restaurants where Jan would often entertain twenty or so of his closest friends at a time. Two of them were famous with Jan and his friends for mixing mai-tais. Many of the jokes were meant to gay bait. Homosexuality was not excluded from the traits that Jan wouldn't hold against anyone, but he got ribbed a lot because, as he often put it, "I have a girl's name and I'm a florist." He started balding early in life. One time, on a visit, I helped Jan all night decorating a massive tent for a party and the tent was to be used one night which astonished me. Jan had pot and at some point we had a twenty foot ladder set and bending to reach the top brace and Jan kept sending me up with buckets of water and flowers so that I made my peace with the Lord, then he changed his mind about how those decorations should look and went up himself, working with a single toe on the ladder. At one point I pointed out that he only had one toe on the ladder and he replied "Oh, yeah. I could fall, huh?" I told him that when he smoked pot he was "dumb as a box of rocks." and we both laughed, he nearly plummeted to his death, and he never could quite remember the phrase. Any time after that I found him stoned he would announce "I have rockses in my boxes!"
One last personal note: I very much appreciate all the condolences offered in the post below. Jan was given six months to live in, I think, 2003. I don't think the doctors overestimated the cancer or even underestimated Jan as much as they'd underestimated how much Jan could die and still not be dead. The night before he passed he asked me to move him on his bed and, meaning to shift him a few inches, I accidentally lifted his entire body (the exact kind of oafish hillbilly calamity Jan's mocked me for nigh on thirty years.) Those of us who saw him a fair bit in these last years are all very glad to see the end come and no condolences are necessary.
Now, ladies and gentlemen meet the late, great Jan Mueller: (if you don't see a video, click here)