Tuesday, February 28, 2017

In Memoriam: Chez Pazienza

Chez Pazienza (1969 - 2017) died last Saturday, probably fifty years too soon.

Chez wrote his life. Don’t mistake that for not living his life; he did that also. But to my mind, his writing is the Chez we will remember.

I’m old enough that I don’t recall how I originally happened on his blog, Deus Ex Malcontent, Making a Mockery of Mockery. The blog filled with personal stories of heartbreak and success, the blog that got him fired from CNN (Their game, their rules, he said.), the outlet for the feelings and scorn that he brought to The Daily Banter. It may have been from /. I found Megatokyo there, after all, so certainly not all bad.

We exchanged a few (far too few) comments on topics he’d written, but that was, except for my waiting each day to see if he’d updated, the extent of our relationship. It’s too much to even call it a relationship; I loved his work, and supported the Banter and Chez’ foray into on-the-ground reporting from Ferguson, but otherwise never had contact.

Not that I ever would have. His life was far different than mine—not least in that I’m typing this while he’s gone. But a look at the Banter pages revealing his death and the comments there leave a strong message that my loss isn’t just mine; more, others have lost even more than I. I haven’t had health issues, suffered drug addiction, lived through broken marriages. I didn’t volunteer to assist in New York after 9/11; I didn’t do most of the things that made Chez’ life his and his alone.

But we both lived. I’ve read his book, Dead Star Twilight, through twice. If I can bear it, I’ll read it again. Not soon, though.

The officials haven’t announced a formal cause of death, however, Ben Cohen reports:

"He OD'ed. The asshole," Chez's fiancée Taryn told Bob Cesca.

Like many of the commenters at the Banter, I believe Chez did not OD intentionally. It wasn’t the way he’d seek attention, and while he battled depression, he had much to live for.

My writing is not nearly a shadow of his; I regret a world where anyone needs escape as badly as Chez did, and I’ll miss him without ever knowing him directly.

Whatever you found, Chez, I hope it’s better than what you left.

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