Hell, where do I start? Never thought in a million years I would be writing about my best friend dying of cancer. Never thought in a million years He wouldn’t make it. If anyone would do it, I thought he would be the dude to pull it off, but of course it would be last minute. True Mike Tag Fashion. At first I just looked at it as another bump in the road of life. Little did I know that would be the thing to take his life.
I’ve been going back and forth from Louisville, Kentucky to Tag’s hometown of Ithaca, New York for the last year now, a little more than usual, watching him get progressively worse and worse every time. We would always make the most brutal jokes about him dying that would make others cringe. We would laugh. I would get stoned out of my mind and talk his head off with my usual bullshit jibber jabber. The dude could barely talk back. He was always a man of few words anyways. We would eat root beer floats and watch multiple TV series until our eyes would bleed. I always wondered why he always wanted me to come back?
When someone has cancer there is an unexplainable weirdness in the air. Every conversation he would come across was about it, how to treat it, how someone else would treat it, or how his condition was. The conversations alone would make someone crazy. I think that’s all the dude talked about for over a year. It’s crazy how cancer consumes you and all that are around you. Over the year all of our friends have been dealing with Mike’s illness in different ways. Some couldn’t even hangout with him because they didn’t know how to deal or what to say. For all the people that felt this way, Mike knew, he understood. I was there to entertain, what I do best. In my eyes I thought I was driving him nuts, in reality I was just keeping his mind off of what was to come. I’ve seen some crazy shit in my time, but nothing like this, I can’t even explain in words what I saw. Conditions would change by the hour. The last few days before Mike went in the hospital I took him to New York City to visit one of his doctors. On our way home we had some crazy conversations laughing most of the way. We talked about our friendship and how crazy it was to do what we had done together. We also talked a lot about SHITLUCK and how it and the people involved changed our lives and influenced so many others around us. He would bitch at me for my driving and navigational skills. Under the circumstances I didn’t take it personal as I normally do, I learned to appreciate it and laugh. He’s always had been an asshole. It was the first time the guy had ever told me that I was his best friend. Like I said, he had always been a man of few words. Its always kind of been an underlying thing with us. Both of us knew it, but that was just our style. Sometimes, when I look back at it, I feel like he was getting it out of his system because he knew we didn’t have much time left together.
Its been weeks since his death and yet I still cry as I write this. Mike has taught me a lot over the years. How to break away from the norm, how to do things your own way, fuck what everyone else thinks, how to not be scared of change, accept it, embrace it, and last but not least, how without your friends you’re nothing. I’ve said it before in my post on facebook, If I’ve ever learned anything about life from another person it was Mike Tag. I don’t even know where I’m going with this. It’s what just came out when I sat down in front of my computer. One crazy motherfucker. I couldn’t recreate a friendship like ours if I even tried. Unexplainable and almost gay at times. We would argue like a married couple and then turn around and party our ass off. The dude would just send me down ledges or handrails I had no business going down, but for some odd reason if he knew I could do it I had no problem with it. I guess what I’m trying to say is, Thank you for being my friend. You will be missed in the most indescribable way.
- Leland Thurman