Friday, October 16, 2009

shine on, Philip Clippinger

One of my close friends in town, Phil Clippinger, died in a car accident on the evening of Saturday, September 26th. He was probably on a Target run, getting reading to drive to a Decemberists concert in Athens, but had only gotten a mile away from his house when he was caught in a downpour on a tricky curve of highway on-ramp, hydroplaned, and ran off the road.

That guy dressed as the Joker in the picture of me as Harley from last Halloween? That's Phil.

I'm so glad I have this silly picture.

We're a tight group, my friends here in Atlanta. [We have a group name (the Nexus) and a battle cry (call: "Dekalb living!" response: "WHAT WHAT!"). Yeah, we're those people.] The amount of support that everyone has given and received has been quintissential of how a family acts. We are a crazy, dysfunctional, kinda incestuous family, and I don't know how I would've gotten through the past few weeks without every one of these marvelous bastards I call my friends.

It still doesn't make any sense to me that Phil isn't a present, local part of that family anymore. That he's not going to call me about coming out to Fellini's on his dinner break, that he's not going to keep me on the phone for an hour describing details from his new Joker Batman video game, that he's not going to try to convince me how much fun I'd have at Bonnaroo, that he's not going to show up late to whoever's party with a case each of Sweetwater 420 and diet Coke.

I love him, all his faults and mine included, and I'm not sure that I ever expressed to him how much I do.

A thing that everyone seems to have been saying is that there isn't enough time, that we need to make more of an effort. To be with each other, to celebrate the things we share, to find joy where we can.

Phil was such a joyful person. When I think of him, the first thing I think of is his laugh, frequent, free, deep, and a little bit sly. Despite being disappointed by the (many) things in his life that didn't go quite as he wished, he found a way to laugh about pretty much everything, and I don't think I ever heard him say anything negative about anyone. (With the exception of Shia LaBeouf, who, to be fair, costarred in three films that stomped all over some of Phil's favorite things.)

Phil's Facebook page has a lot of lovely stories and pictures that've been posted by friends and family. His obituary was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday the 29th, and they're currently keeping a guestbook online.

A few friends have posted memorials on their own webspaces: Merlin, Matt Anderson, and CJ. If anyone else posted one or knows of another one, post a comment with the link and I'll publish it, too.

In lieu of flowers, Phil’s family has asked that donations be made in Phil’s name to Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, The Faustman Lab of Massachusetts General Hospital, or the charity of your choice.

I’d recommend a donation to Child’s Play, the gamers’ fund & toy drive for children’s hospitals. Phil loved playing games, especially ones that involved messing with his friends’ minds, and he didn't get the chance to teach the next generation the simple, Machiavellian joy of screwing their friends over hardcore within the context of a game, where said friends can’t be too pissed about it. (Hypothetically. I’ll tell you a story sometime about a game of Munchkin). A donation in Phil’s name to Child’s Play is a small assurance that sick kids will a) have fun distractions, and b) learn to be clever dicks. He would've appreciated that.

Phil's flickr -- myspace -- facebook -- livejournal


-Adrian said...

Nicely written and all very true.

the grammar monkey said...

Hope you're holding up okay, kid. Will come down to EAV for foods & beers & hugs with you guys once I get back from my work trip.

Liz said...

thank you for sharing that Lauren... love you sweetheart... must see you when you get back..

Rhonda said...

Hi Lauren, I'm Phil's mom. I love what you've written. I wonder if Phil's friends have any idea what a comfort they have been. I am so grateful to you all, and I know he would be, too, for how you all have helped me.
Thanks for mentioning Childs Play. I'll definitely get something to them very soon. What a perfect way to honor Phil.

the grammar monkey said...

Love you, Liz. Glad you're gonna be at the party on Saturday.

Rhonda, I'm so glad that we all got to meet you. It was amazing catharsis for us to learn more about Phil's family and childhood. Thank you for inviting us to the beautiful wake, and for being such a gracious host. Speaking with you even for a couple minutes and despite the circumstances, we could all tell where Phil got the sense of humor that we loved him for. Please do let us know if there's ever anything that we can do for you.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I knew Philip in High School and odd as it is I have been thinking about him lately and decided to look him up. I was so sad to see that his obituary. He was a great guy and I have fond memories of him. I like what you wrote. I am glad he had such good friends in his life.