Oddly enough I'd thought about my dead friends on three different occasions today and for totally different reasons. I'm talking about the really dead friends and not the people who only show up in your life when it's not too hard on them... Listed in no particular order.
Chuck - He was really one of the good ones - just a great guy to be around, talk to and joke with. He was, I think, the first friend I had who faced the unknown. It hit me fairly hard because Chuck wasn't much older than me.
Mike AKA Fast Fingers - I used to talk to this guy all the time on the phone back when I was exploring phone systems and hacking. He was really a smart guy who taught me what it was to live with a handicap. Mike was blind and in no way did it ever change who he was... well not until Diabetes took him.
Ron - What can I say about Ron. Ron is the reason I can never be a racist. Ron is the reason I look for the best in everyone. Ron also is a fairly often inspiration to not talk in a negative way about anyone - even when they deserve it. Rob was an amazing influence on my life for as little as we actually saw each other.
Amy - Amy was a funeral home director who paled around with us local nerds. She showed us her home and she showed us the business and she and I got close for a while... when my dad died I went to her to find out what to expect and see if we should trust our local funeral home people. She made it a lot easier on me... she died herself not even 10 years after she started her business.
Rat - Like Mike, I knew Rat well but never actually met him. He is the reason I bothered to read Abbie Hoffman, he's a big reason I try to think of things in fun-value, and he is the reason I know it's ok to try and stay young. Rat and I talked several times after he found out he had cancer and then one day I realized I hadn't heard from him in a while. I did some research and finally found friends of his on MySpace who told me how amazingly well he went out. Until the very end he made plans for the next day.
I just wanted to step back and thank those who have been with me all this time, even if not in body and maybe get you to think about your dead friends as well.