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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Reich’

ImageI knew very little about Eric Spicer.

He was a marketer who pitched himself as a motivational speaker and a social networking consultant. Twitter is full of guys like him.

I never met the man. But tonight, I think of Eric.

For years, I’ve wondered about social media, and its purpose. My personal Facebook page is updated carefully, and like my Twitter feed, it offers only a glimpse into my personal life. I’ve reasoned that if 1,500 people follow me on those two social media platforms, it’s better to be reserved.

I decided to go pruning, and went through the list of nearly 800 people I followed on Twitter. I started to cut away at the long list of people I’ve never corresponded with. There were liberal activists, right-wing zealots, one-issue blowhards, and a couple of random sports fans in states I’ve never visited. There were also plenty of accounts that had gone more than a year without a single update. Unfollow, unfollow, unfollow. The chopping was pathetically easy.

But I was stopped in my tracks twice. The first time, it was when I found my dad, who rarely ever tweeted. In fact, the official Twitter stat book on Thomas Reich is closed: He tweeted three times before he died last year. Twice he wanted to wish President Clinton a Happy Birthday.

The only other time I froze? When Spicer’s @speaker99 account came up. He was a prolific tweeting machine. He was friendly. And while he was hardly controversial, Spicer’s absence should have been obvious. But in the noise that is social media, I didn’t notice the man had been silenced. That’s on me.

It turns out Spicer died of a heart attack only a couple of weeks after we exchanged pleasantries about pumpkin spice coffee, and whether it was socially acceptable to drink it after Halloween. More than two years have passed, and I remember the brief discussion.

I’m not much into listening to motivational speakers. I’m driven. That’s never been a problem.

But tonight, Eric, you inspired me to update this site for the first time since I posted my dad’s eulogy.

This writer thanks you.

And thanks for the conversation. Clearly it meant something after all.

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I delivered this eulogy at my dad’s memorial on March 4 in Doylestown, Penn:

The last phone call from my father came on the day before he died.

He had left a voice message stressing that I needed to call back because he had “a question.”

I called. He asked if my wife had any interest in tickets to the St. Patrick’s Day parade. I responded, tersely, “why am I being asked this? Ask her.”

And with that, I advanced the conversation, knowing that was not why he really reached out. There were usually two reasons for his calls. So I set myself up and asked “What else is new?”

First, he wanted to know what his two grandkids were doing. The little boy was playing Angry Birds on the iPhone. The girl was playing with her princess toys – which he gave her a few weeks earlier.

Second, he wanted to make a political point.

“The Republicans in Wisconsin are bastards.”

After a few minutes of banter, we left it that he would call again the next day – and that I should watch what was happening in Ohio, Indiana and a few other states, because the Republicans were out to destroy the middle class and that unions were being scapegoated. Teachers, elevator operators and bricklayers were not the people who got us in this mess, and the middle class was being pitted against each other.

Of course we never had that follow-up call. His heart finally gave out for good.

But the fight he believed in lives on through the Doylestown Democrats, an organization he fell in love with. I heard about the organization all the time. He beamed about his role, and the group’s purpose. And like with everything he ever involved himself with, he cared. Deeply. Heck, I never saw him speechless, but after Election Day last November, when the vote didn’t go the way of the Democrats, I didn’t hear from him for two days. My wife, at one point, asked “is your dad ok? Someone should check on him.”

It took him about 48 hours to bounce back from the crushing local losses to start talking about the importance of 2012. And while he won’t physically be here to help, he’s watching. May President Obama win Pennsylvania, and the election, again. And may Rick Santorum go away. Oh, how he didn’t like that guy. Really, who could?

He also lives on through his family, even if our cell phones ring a little less. Ok, a lot less. I’ll keep him close, and honor him in my own way. Last year, three generations of us went to Citizens Bank Park to see a Phillies game. My dad, brother, my son Donovan, and me all went to South Philly. I stoically watched the game, while my dad doted on Donovan’s every move – even when my little boy, in the spirit of Brotherly Love, yelled to everyone’s delight “If you root for the Braves, I’ll cut your brains out.” Oh how he laughed at that. Confession – so did I.

I had planned to go again this June – the whole gang again. Donovan and I are still going. And everywhere we turn, dad will be there, because we were there, and memories, unlike the human body, don’t die. Donovan still talks about last year’s trip – and how Uncle Jeffrey and Grandpa helped him eat chicken fingers and saw the Phanatic imitate Lady GaGa.

I think of dad’s passing and think of the good times, especially those he spent with my kids – because it took me having children to understand how important I was to my parents. I think that’s the way it usually works. So, I’ll just give thanks to having two. And I’m grateful he met them both. They’re better off for it.

Thanks.

Oh, and dad, I agree, “the Republicans in Wisconsin are bastards.”

Thomas Reich’s obit, courtesy of Doylestown Patch.

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