A friend of mine died yesterday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on a remote trail near his home in the Hollywood Hills. It is unfortunately not the first and probably not the last time I will see someone I knew, respected, and related to make such a choice, and will subsequently watch myself think the entire situation into the ground.
In this instance, my friend was a counter-culture pioneer. He concepted and launched wacky, underground clothing brands and grew them from nothing into something- all along the way championing, commiserating with, and even employing many of the misfits and weirdos his brands catered to. He played in great bands, he thought and operated exclusively outside the box, he was driven by discontent, and ultimately (like many of us that never have and never will walk a conventional path) was likely driven mad by it.
The groundedness and relentlessness it requires to stay balanced while constantly swimming upstream, running through the mud, and dusting yourself off after each and every fall, year after year, are lessons that he had learned the hard way times-over, and had almost certainly taken a toll.
Even in my comparatively limited capacity I can relate to the forging (as opposed to the following…) of a path as being an often dangerous game, accompanied by the potential for both great risk and great reward, and demanding a price to play that most are unable and unwilling to pay.