The Greatest Texter Of All Time

10 Feb

Jeff regularly texted Carey and me,  both about routine stuff, but also to share with us, through his recounting of events as they were happening, the sheer happiness and excitement he was feeling while out with the friends he loved.  When I’ve told people this (including other parents), their reactions were all similar: that we should be proud and honored to have had that type of close relationship with our son, because it’s not so common.  To be sure, that is in fact one of the reasons I am honored to have been on Jeff’s “short list” of text recipients (one friend confided to me that he had a such a short list).  But there is another more basic reason why I feel that way.  Stated simply, Jeff was, by any measure, the greatest texter of all time.  And don’t just take my word for it- ask the friends and family on his short list for corroboration of this fact.

What was it about Jeff’s texts that earned him this most prestigious of titles ?  Several things.  For starters, some were hilarious purely as a consequence of their completely random, out-of-the-blue, no-context nature.  I mean, picture me on the train to Grand Central at 7:45am on June 3, 2009, and receiving the following from my son:

“Man I like Obama but I hate his sports picks.  Biggest frontrunner ever.” I remember bursting out laughing wondering where that random thought came from (and feeling relief that there was actually something about Obama that he didn’t like).

Or how about this random one from May 29, 2010: “It’s not st. patrick’s day.  Yet ryan, lisa, kedamai and I are all wearing green.”

Another aspect of Jeff’s texts that made them so great was the passion he conveyed, particularly when it came to his basketball conspiracy theory that the league and the refs were always conspiring to make sure the NBA finals featured their chosen teams.

From May 8, 2009:  “Watch the Rockets get screwed in this game by the officials.  Just watch.”

And over a year later, May 29, 2010, he was still convinced that the fix was on: “I know they want Celtics-Lakers but breaking out the machetes this early ?”

To Jeff, the officials were so biased that it was shocking when his underdog team actually overcame their bad calls.  On May 31, 2009, he seemed to think that it had to be some form of divine intervention that enabled it to happen:

“I give some credit for our victory from above.  I think he/she/it deserves something although I’m not sure how much.  Thank God they did it though.”

But the ones I loved most of all were the ones that would come late on those weekend or vacation nights (or early mornings in many cases) when he was out with his friends.

These were the times he reveled in, and he clearly wanted to share his happiness with us.  To Carey’s chagrin, I would keep my cell phone on the window sill next to our bed, because I would rather have had a sleep-interrupted night than wait till the morning to receive gems like these:

December 31, 2008-“I can’t even begin 2 describe how funny this night has been.  I’ll give you an update tomorrow.”

June 20, 2009, 12:05am- “Yep.  It’s great.  weatley heights or hills.  I’m not sure which.  Beautiful Long Island girls.  Good stuff.”

June 26, 2009, 2:02am- “What I’m learnin is I’m no longer in the north.  I’m in the mid-atlantic.  That’s a big difference.  Believe me. “

July 4, 2010- “we just went out for a very expensive lobster dinner in Newport for July

4th.  Right as the bill came, jack suggested we play credit card roulette to see who pays.  Jack, Ryan and I were the only 3 participants out of 10 people here, so everyone else had to pay their share.  I guess karma bit jack for suggesting the game, because he lost and had to pay for the 3 of us.  I feel bad because one of my good friends had to pay a lot, but

I also like how I just had a huge expensive dinner and didn’t have to pay a cent.”

And then there was this awesome text from July 10, 2010, almost exactly 3 months

before Jeff died, which reflected pure happiness and contentment:

The last text I ever received from Jeff arrived in the early morning hours of November 7, 2010.  It was a text like so many others I had received over the prior two years, one in which he simply let me know where he was going to crash after another great night with his friends.   In this case, he had gone out with A.B. and the Duke guys, and his message was,

“OK, Sir, I’m gonna stay at AB’s frat bro’s place on 39th and 2nd.  Will be home tomorrow by noon.”

Reading this, there was no way to know that this would be his last such night out with the guys or that I’d never receive another text from him.  As promised, he was home around noon that day, and we had a fun family dinner at Macarthur’s in Pleasantville that Sunday night.  He seemed in a particularly good mood, teasing Brett (who he called “B-Man”, or just “B” for short) about  the menu that night being filled with “B things” like Beef Barley soup and Butternut Bisque.  He thought that was hilarious.   The four of us (Drew was at school) then walked over to Coldstone for ice cream, and it was all good.  Jeff even let Brett drive his car home.

To this day, I must admit that I fantasize about getting a classic text from Jeff after the

Knicks pull off a big win, after the Yankees sign a Rafael Soriano, or even during the early morning hours on any given Sunday.  Perhaps nothing has contributed more to the permanence of the situation sinking in than the fact that these texts do not come.  I can completely relate to what Julie wrote in her last blog post about those times that beg for a text from Jeff and are just not complete without it.  One of the most wonderful things about him was how he let each one of us know that he was not only thinking about us at those times that were uniquely special to us, but also that he wanted to share them with us.

On November 2nd, I guess I had texted Jeff expressing how I felt about him.   His response was swift and concise.   As with all the other messages, this one will forever reside in both my phone and my heart.  It said simply:

From a father’s perspective, that message alone is proof positive that Jeff truly was The Greatest Texter Of All Time.

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