Married,moved,and getting it together.

Eddie & Comic-Con

Edward Dean Nunez, 1970-1995

In 1995 I was living in Los Angeles. I had moved back to California after having gone to school and worked as a Respiratory Therapist for a while. I was back to figure out how to get into the movie business somehow. I took classes at UCLA Extension and was not sure what to do, exactly, but I was doing it. It was on this path that I would eventually find the web, web programming, and graphic design.

I always enjoyed Comic-Con. I remember when it was held down at the Civic Center, before there was even a trolley. I remember being driven there by my Mom and picked up at the end of the day. I loved it.

There was one year, though, that I didn’t enjoy Con.

This was before cell phones were common. I had an answering machine which I could call to get my messages on. It was expensive and worked well. There was a digital woman’s voice who would say, haltingly, “YOU HAVE TWO MESSAGES” then I could give touch-tone instructions to the phone to play, rewind, replay, and delete messages.

I was compulsive about checking my messages.

I had to. Or I wanted to. I worked per diem as an RT, and would sometimes get offered extra shifts to work, or get cancelled if they didn’t need me to work. Once I was had that habit, I used it all the time.

I left for Comic Con on a Saturday morning, driving the hundred plus miles from my studio apartment in L.A. to San Diego. I checked into Con, I think I had bought a pass by mail so I was able to check in swiftly.

But after getting set up at Con, I checked my messages.

Was it 12 or 15 messages on my machine? It was more messages than I had ever had. More than I thought machine could say. The machine, back in Little Tokyo, had a 2 digit readout. Maybe it could say up to 99.

I could not imagine any good reason to have more than 10 minutes in the 3 hours since I drove to San Diego and entered the Con.

The messages were from my Mom, my cousin Leeman, my Grandmother (on my Dad’s side), and even more. I can’t remember all who called. My memory is fuzzy, unreliable, and infused with emotion. A haze of bad memory. They all said there was bad news. It had to do with my cousin Eddie. They didn’t come right out and say what had happened. But it was very bad. It seemed clear he was dead. Whether they said it, implied it, or I inferred it I do not remember.

I got ahold of someone on the phone, maybe I got Leeman on the phone? I know I talked with my Mother. She was devastated and crying. I could not fathom what I was hearing. My cousin, just a few months younger than me, had killed himself by hanging himself in the shower. He had kids. He was married. And now he was dead. I remember thinking immediately that we should be talking about him in the past tense. But when someone dies they still are there in the present tense. “He is married.” It’s funny what you remember when BIG STUFF happens to you in your life. It’s never what you expect.

I was angry and shocked and pretty much dumbfounded about the whole thing. Why would he do it?

Well, the easy answer was that Ed had problems. He didn’t finish high school. He couldn’t hold onto a job. He had gotten involved with drugs and was getting into trouble.

The last time I vividly remember Eddie he had been working at a convenience store, and I think he had gotten fired or they hired him back or something. He had a bag full of car stereos he wanted to know if we wanted to buy. We? I think Bronson and I were offered that deal. We declined I think. I think we tried to give him advice, but we really didn’t think much of it. Eddie was always into shenanigans of some sort. Ed was a survivor, a scrapper. Always in trouble, but always managed to get through it.

I have photos of Ed and his smile glows at me. Big giant grin, like everything is so funny, everything is so wonderful. He used to tease me a little bit. With him, and with Shannon, the 1970 babies in my Mom’s Mom’s house, we used to get fed at the same time, and grew up together. Eddie was the clown, always happy and entertaining. We had much fun. I miss the boy. I miss the man. I wish he had not done what he did.

I decided then that I thought that suicide was not the way out. All the romanticization of suicide is so much bullshit. I decided I liked Joy Division a lot less. I had always found Ian Curtis, their lead singer, a romantic figure. Actually facing the suicide of someone I knew though, that was something else. It was just sad. And not sad in a Morrissey-song kind of way, or in a Walt Whitman kind of way, but in an eternal way.

As my marriage fell apart, I had many thoughts of suicide. It seemed like the way to end pain. the equation was: I hurt, and I will stop hurting if I do this. I don’t think I was very close to it, but the thought would cross my mind and linger there. That’s usually when I would try and _do_ something. I saw a counselor, I go for a walk, I go for a drive, I read a book, I sleep. Self-destruction is not productive. That’s a nice tautology there, eh? Self-destruction is not productive.

So when Comic-Con comes around, though I have been a dozen or more times, I always think of Eddie. Comic-Con is coming next week to San Diego. I will miss it this year, but I vow to go the year after. This year I’m really focusing on making sure this home is a good one, and I’m taking care of me.

I left Con immediately after I found out about Eddie. I went to the my Grandma’s house and the family was collecting there, we prayed and cried and it sucked but it was the process. That house was in mourning, as we all were.

I miss Eddie.

five comments so far...

Very sad. How are Eddie’s kids doing? They must be teenagers by now? I agree with you. Ultimately it’s selfish. You decide that your need to end your pain is more important than the devastation and grief you will leave your family with. I can only guess that people in those situations are too immersed in their pain to think of others or they push themselves over the edge with drugs.

I still like Joy Division, but my friends who didn’t grow up listening to it, don’t get what’s so great about it ;).

I don’t have a lot of contact with his kids, but I see them every few years. They seem to be doing fine. His widow has remarried to a very kind man.

And yeah, Joy Division is definitely an acquired taste.

[…] When I was in high school I dug New Order. What a story. I’m sure I’ve blogged about that before, ah yes: “Eddie & Comic-Con“. Talked about my fetish for Ian Curtis and his suicide. Not my bag anymore. But the province of young men is to be entranced by angst and deify intense feelings. I’m a big fan of intense feeling myself, but not to the exclusion of rational self-examination. […]

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