A decade later, still no time machines
June 28 marks the 10th anniversary of the death of my friend Andrew James Lere. He was a record-breaking swimmer, a three-year member of the National Honor Society, and an awesome guy. He died in a drunken driving accident.
I still think about Lere too much, probably, yet specific memories of him are fading in my mind. A few still stick out, though:
- I didn’t really have much planned for a graduation party at the end of my high school career. Whether Lere knew that or not, I don’t know, but he ended up suggesting we join forces for a celebration. Naturally, we got pretty excited and used my mom’s digital camera to take the photos for the above Photoshopped sumo-wrestling-match promo. Lere is the wrestler on the right. I’m on the left. I’m pretty sure this image ended up on our cake. (It’s not technically a doodle, but too bad!)
- In high school, my group of friends loved to make movies. One film, an action-packed portrayal of the Vietnam War for a history class, hit the skids when we almost blew somebody’s face off. Lere wasn’t in the class, but he helped us finish the movie anyway. We found more success later while making a Saturday-Night-Live-esque compilation. The film included Adam leading a workout video while wearing a grocery bag for a shirt, to the tune of fake flatulence provided by Kyle; a surreal parade of costumed characters walking through an imaginary door, to the tune of “Been Caught Stealing” by Jane’s Addiction; and the centerpiece, a blue-paint covered Lere lip-syncing and dancing to “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65. Most of the footage has been lost to time, but enjoy a screen grab of Lere’s performance to the right.
- Lere and I entertained many a person with our science-fiction-dork act. One person would ask an obviously correct question, and the other would reply “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaffirmative” in a nerdy voice. It was funny, I swear!
My favorite memory was from one time when I had to pick up Lere at his house for some reason. When I arrived, he was down in the basement, sitting on a new futon he had just acquired from Kmart.
“Dude, you’ve gotta try this thing out,” he said.
I was resistant. We were already late for whatever we had to get to, and we still had to drive back into town. But Lere was convincing. He looked like he was in futon paradise.
I sat down and soon discovered that, wow, that futon was comfortable. We just sat there for at least another 5-10 minutes, trying to figure out a way to escape its grip.
After Lere died, his family gave me that futon. It served me a lot of years.
A decade later, it still sucks that Lere is dead. It is fun to imagine that he will walk through the door one day when our group of high school friends is hanging out, having faked his death this whole time, but that is looking more and more like a long shot. There’s always the chance that someone will invent a time machine before we die so we can go back and save him, but science isn’t progressing as quickly as I had planned.
I hope I’ll see him again, one way or another.
Have a great story about Lere or some other awesome dead person? Share it below.