Around noon today while sitting at the coffee shop, Matt says, “Alex died yesterday at four o’clock. That’s all I know.”

Whoa, Alex died?! Alex, the jackass in Nashville who really kind of rubbed me the wrong way? I didn’t really like him too much, but my disdain for him seems so petty now and my sorrow for his pain and suffering in this life is all that’s left. And peace toward his spirit. He sometimes did and said things that made me question, made me go out of my comfort zone and often made me angry.

He also made me laugh sometimes. He’d say just about anything, no matter how off color or inappropriate, and although this sometimes infuriated me, it also was inspiring, because this guy was truly living. It was after midnight at Foobar in Nashville the first night Matt and Hardy introduced me to Alex.

At one point in the evening, I told the group, “I have to go to the drug store.”

Alex gruffly said, “Wh-a-a-t? Are you on your period or something?” I was a little annoyed by his comment because it was true and because he was so damned loud and crass about it, but he returned less than 45 seconds later and flung an assortment of feminine products down on the bar next to my beer.

This guy has a fantastical story for everything and a penchant for grabbing your unsuspecting hand and shoving your fingertips relentlessly into his left eye socket so you can feel the titanium plate in his head. He’s been stabbed and shot. He’s a well-tatted punk-rockabilly dude; you can spot him as a bruiser upon first sight. He’ll be your amicable guide to the underbelly of East Nashville.  He’ll encourage you to drink another. And another. And another. And he’ll help you get into slightly mindful-mindless trouble. He talks loud and doesn’t care who hears it. He just lets it fly. Ultimately, I’ve got respect for that – because it’s truthful.

But during the times of negative emotionality on my part towards him, I never imagined the guy dying only three months after our introduction and our episodes of partying with mutual close friends. I imagined walking into Foobar next summer and slinging back a few beers with him and his wife. I imagined saying, “Hey, remember last summer when . . . ?”

Thank you, Alex, for teaching me in a rather somber way to appreciate someone no matter how much they push my buttons. So right now, in spirit, I’m cranking up the punk rock and throwing half-empty PBR bottles at your gravestone, biker style, and screaming obscenities at you, you MF. Smashed glass is scattered everywhere and beer is flowing into the ground. I know you’d want it that way because we all talked about it this past summer one night. Drink up, man . . . you will be missed.