Yesterday, August 19th, was the one year anniversary of the passing of Perry. Friday, August 22nd, would have been Perry’s 45th birthday. We all still feel the loss of Perry very acutely – and it was a loss. I miss the presence of Perry on the podcast, and I will his presence in my life. I would love to have a conversation with Perry about current events, about crazy stuff in the news, and about our personal lives – but I can’t.
I am glad that Perry left behind his recorded wit and humor on the show, but it is a pale substitute for the man himself. But I am more happy for what he added to my life than I am sad for his loss. I feel lucky to have had Perry as a friend.
Thanks to everyone for sharing in our memories for Perry and for all the support we have received over the last year. It has helped to know that Perry had touched so many fellow skeptics as he did us.
The SGU received this e-mail yesterday:
I am new to the SGU and am listening to your podcasts in order.
When I reached podcast # 100, I wandered over to the “About Us” section of your website and was dismayed to learn that Perry DeAngelis passed away last year. Even more ironic, I learned of this on August 19, 2008 – the one year anniversary of his death.
I only knew this funny, warm man from your podcasts and already I miss him. I feel saddened that as I approach podcast #107, I will be hearing Perry’s glib wit and ripostes for the last time.
My belated condolences to you at SGU for the loss of this wonderful friend and skeptical ally.
Sabina – Coral Gables, Florida
How tremendous is it that Perry, a full year after his passing, still has the impact and effect on listeners that he had when he was alive? Although the initial flood of responses and outpourings came in during the first month immediately following Perry’s death, we still receive e-mails like Sabina’s on a regular basis. Sabina’s expressions are very warm and touching, but perhaps even more noteworthy is the fact that new listeners “get” Perry, having no other interaction with him other than to have heard him on the show. Because we at the New England Skeptical Society created a podcast back in 2005, Perry’s essence continues to ring loud and true. It is a touch of immortality that is deserving of someone of Perry’s stature, as it is safe to restate that if it were not for Perry’s personal vision of skeptical activism, The Skeptic’s Guide To The Universe would not be here today. On a very personal note, Perry is a steady part of my everyday thoughts. Having known Perry since 1985, my memories of his close friendship endures forever in the folds of my grey matter. I miss him as much today as I did a year ago and every day in between.
As the new kid on the SGU, I didn’t just waltz into a group podcast — I joined a group of friends who had known one another for as long as I had been alive. It would have been disastrous had the guys not put so much effort into including me on group e-mails and in-jokes, and chatting away from the podcast in order to get better acquainted. That’s how, with multiple hours of podcasting every week combined with
hundreds of e-mails and long hours staying up late talking, I was able to know Perry so well . . . and that’s how I’ve wound up terribly missing someone without ever having met him.
I think about him a lot, whenever I laugh at a monkeys vs. birds joke, or say something edging toward bleeding heart liberal, or wonder if I’ve been a little too harsh on some scam artist (“What Would Perry
Do?”). He was the best sparring partner a girl could ask for, and I’m proud to have spent a year and a half podcasting, chatting, fighting, learning, and goofing off with him. I’ll wrap it up there, because I know that by this point Perry would be telling me to stop being such an overly emotional little girly girl.
The first time I saw Perry, it was at a live action role-playing event that he was part owner of. He played a high-priest of sorts wearing a huge robe and a golden bundt cake pan hung around his neck like bling only gods would wear. That’s how Perry lived his life, larger than life. Did you know he created a character called Dr. Demo that drove cars in demolition derbys? Do you know anyone that’s ever participated in a demolition derby?…I didn’t think so. What I wouldn’t give to go back and see him do that.
Perry’s absence from the podcast and our lives is still like an open wound. It’s not as ghastly as it was that first week and sometimes it seems to be scabbing over. I’m still surprised though how often it re-opens and bleeds again. I think Dr. Demo would have liked that simile.
I tried to write something for this post but found that I was painting positive words when in my heart I feel very different. So here is my final and most honest try. I don’t understand Perry’s death or for that matter any death. It makes no sense to me. I think the world is less of a place without him. I wrote a poem about Perry not long after he died that summed up my feelings at the time. The only thing I want to ad is that he was very special to me..and I loved him.
10 years ago
A friend lay still, sleeping
while the haze of early morning slowly rested upon him
from a dour brume The visitor came
standing motionless at the door
Barely there, unbodied
Raising its hand
the visitor knocked once
and every room in the house
felt the virulent knell
Now, the knock has just ended
while a friend again lays still
the unquiet morning has looked over him
and found he is not there