Goodbye to The Hippie Professor

I learned this afternoon that my online friend HP died of a heart attack on Sunday, October 10th.  Best I can tell, his last comment was at 9:38 A.M. on Saturday, October 9th on his own blog.  While his blogs were almost unfailingly political, the last two were about bullying.  He’d been distressed by the suicide of Tyler Clementi, the young Rutgers student who committed suicide after his roommate and a cohort filmed Tyler with a webcam having sex with another man.  Then posted it on YouTube. 

It caused HP to think about his own youth and experience of being bullied, and he did two posts…his last two…about it.  They were painful, and honest, and searching. 

But HP was the cliche that the best revenge is success.  He was a university professor, apparently beloved by all his students.  On the side, he was in a band, and last played on October 2nd.  He had a family, and recently drove his daughter across the country to go to college. 

He was a relatively new “friend” for me, but I feel as much grief as I would if I had known him personally.  He was a kindred spirit.  I’m in shock.  I can barely say more at this point.  Maybe later.

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7 responses to “Goodbye to The Hippie Professor

  1. masteroftheuniverse

    Death and grief are very strange creatures. I felt many of the same feelings you expressed, and some other ones thrown in to boot. It’s a testament to the human spirit that one can go on after losing friend after friend,loved one after loved one, basically living in a state of perpetual grief. Sad thing is that it never, ever goes away…..it really doesn’t even subside even a little. Grief just hangs around, right under the surface, rearing it’s ugly head every other day or so. Although I didn’t know HippieProf, from his writings, it was obvious that he was a very decent human being.

  2. Odd how many of us who never met Jim are mourning his death – even those of us to whom he was a relatively new blogfriend.

    May I ask, why do you favor Amendment 4? I’m pretty liberal and I”m opposed (not the Dem party position by the way)

  3. Moe, I’m so glad you took the time to comment. If you felt anything like me, it’s that I’m still surprised by the strength of my grief over his death. I kept thinking I “shouldn’t” feel so strongly. But I think our world is changing. It’s possible to have online “friends” who are every bit as “real” as those you know in person.
    As for Amendment 4, I know other liberals who are voting for it but aren’t very crazy about the idea. Mostly it boils down to them thinking it won’t work, and not because of all the propaganda by the Chamber and the Homebuilders and the Real Estate industry. They are just telling a lot of lies and speculating about things they can’t really predict. All that noise about it costing jobs and ruining the economy…well they already did that by overbuilding. There is like a gazillion square feet of unoccupied space already, residental and commercial. But developers want to build. That’s what they do for a living, I guess you can’t blame them. But they come in and build something, and then they’re gone. No regard for what has been done to your community or to the environment and that will be whatever they can get away with. I’m not sure 4 will work either, but something has to change. At least even if it fails, it will have been a shot across the bow. As a member of a neighborhood which fought Wal-Mart for 2 or 3 years, I saw first hand how the local government caved, and reinterpreted the zoning and the land use laws to Wal-Mart’s benefit. Of course Amendment 4 would not have helped us in this case, because a specific use of one site is not what people would vote on. That’s probably more than you wanted to know 🙂 Let me stop before I rant on! I had no idea you were from Florida.

    • My grandmother had a ‘pen pal’ for decades and she told us how devastated she was when the letters just stopped. She never knew what happened to her friend or if she was even still living. I thought of that when Jim’s friend John stopped by to tell everyone what happened.

      Yeah, fellow Floridian! South west coast, land of the ancients – retired people vacation here so they can visit their parents.

      I am of two minds about Amendment 4. The Dem party position is a YES and the LWV in Florida is not taking a position. The few people I know in government are pretty split as well, as are activists on both sides.

      This is one of those times I have to remind myself that in spite of the cliche, nothing (not even a law) is forever. Since coming to Florida I’ve been stunned by the inefficiency of the constant amending of the constitution and the constant referendum process in the counties. I think it hampers good government. And this seems to be of a piece with those problems.

      I probably won’t decide till next week, but for now I”m leaning NO. There are so many sides to this thing . . .

      It’ll be an interesting one to watch.

    • Let me add that your own argument re Amendment 4 is one I”m finding very persuasive. Hell, I’d like to pass a law that says if you build it, you have to either live there, do business there or manage the building. Goodbye speculators. Fat chance of course.

  4. I am sorry to hear of his passing. His dorm room was next to mine when I was a sophmore at Whitman College. I remember many conversations with him. RIP

  5. Ross, thank you for commenting. I picture him as being a lot of fun in college. I miss him still.

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