On a Scale of ‘1 to Jeff Klein’

9 May

Dear Jeff,

I can’t believe it’s already been six months. It’s been sad, weird, tough, every emotion you can think of, but the support system that all of your friends have created for each other has been truly amazing.

As I wrote this, I was trying to remember when exactly you and I became such good friends. While I knew you through the basketball-cheerleading camaraderie, I tried to pinpoint when you, Julie and I started hanging out virtually every weekend. Honestly, I have no idea. Because I can’t remember ever not being friends with you. Was it four summers ago? Maybe—but the innumerable good times we shared in that time makes it feel like years and years longer than that.

One of my favorites from 'Classic Michaels'

When I lived in Boston for a year after college, I’m really, really happy we stayed in touch. When I would sit in my office from 9-5 every day at MIT, I looked forward to our almost-daily G-chat sessions. Remember that one day we literally talked the entire workday? About high school, middle school, basketball (obviously)…everything. It was in that very office I read your ‘Talkin’ Sports’ blog for the first time and was so impressed by your way with words. (I write for a living, and I’m pretty sure you were using vocabulary that I didn’t even know.) Whenever we talked, I cracked up at every other thing you said. (Which you already knew—in person you made me laugh hysterically, but even over the computer I was sure to let you know I was laughing behind the screen. You usually didn’t even mean to be funny, but that was the best part—your sharp, smart and organic wit always had me in stitches.)

I remember one time I was in my room in Boston getting ready for work at 7am when I got a BBM from you. It was the morning you missed your flight home from Duke. Twice. When you delivered that story, even over text, I was cracking up hysterically. Like, OF COURSE you wanted to get a few more hours of partying in at the expense of missing your flight…twice. Your vivacious nature and love for all things fun was contagious, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I wasn’t even there with you and all of your friends, but I remember my day in the MIT secretary office sucking a lot less that usual that day, just because you reminded me how to laugh and make the best of every situation.

You’ve also had some of the best one-liners ever. One of my favorites was when Julie and I left the bar early to go home to my house to make ‘classic nachos.’ You called her cell, but we didn’t hear the phone ring and listened to the message after. “Hey it’s Jeff. Where did you guys go?…Your silence is deafening. Call me back!” It was just SO Jeff Klein—it still gets me every time.

I (kind of) remember one time (okay, maybe a few times) that Julie and I had had a few too many ‘Classic Michaels’ tequila shots. It would be well past 3am, and we’d still be running rampant around the bar. Without fail, you ALWAYS waited for us, just to make sure we got home okay. God, you were such an amazing friend. I hope you know I always knew and appreciated that.

Julie and I feel honored that we're on the other side of your Facebook picture!

Even when you were still here with us, Julie and I always used to talk about what an amazing person you were to everyone. ‘The Full Package’ or ‘A Perfect 10’ we’d say—smart, funny, athletic, handsome, comes from an amazing family, ambitious, fun and completely genuine in every way. It doesn’t get much better than that. You had it all going for you, and I’ll always, always remember you that way. All of our friends agree—it just doesn’t get better than Jeff Klein. Maybe even more so now, Julie and I find ourselves comparing any guy we meet to you. And let me tell you—on a scale of 1 to Jeff Klein, no one has ever come close to measuring up.

I keep the pocket-sized picture that was handed out at your wake on my mirror—the one with you in the blue shirt and red tie that your dad mentioned in one of his posts. I know you’re with all of us every day—your family, your friends, and anyone else whose life you have touched. But it’s a nice reminder to see you every day—it puts a smile on my face because in all the time I’ve known you, I’ve never not seen you smiling, and that’s the image of you that I will always have in my mind. Whenever my a friend from school or abroad, or a cousin comes to visits me they always point to your picture and ask me “who is that?” I love to tell them. Sometimes I have to stop myself from gushing about how that’s my friend who is unfortunately no longer with us (physically speaking, of course), but he was literally the most amazing person ever.

There’s actually a bit of frustration that comes along with that, believe it or not—AB, Julie and I have all expressed it, and I know all of your other friends agree—sure, anyone would call their friend who passed ‘the most amazing person ever.’ But unless someone knew Jeff Klein, they couldn’t possibly know or understand just how true that statement is.

Last week after I wrote the Kleinsaucer post about our amazing times at CST, I was sitting in bed with my TV on and further reminiscing about all of our good times. When out of nowhere, I hear my speakers turn on from across the room. I was sitting on my bed and I just watched the ‘ON’ lights flash blue and say on. But the speakers weren’t anywhere plugged in to my computer as they usually are, because my computer was in my lap, as I was reading other ‘Kleinsaucer’ blog posts from my bed. You picture also sits right next to the left speaker.

I immediately texted AB about it. At first I was a tad freaked out, I’ll admit. But then I was kind of comforted and touched. While your dad shared some pretty amazing stories with us about times you’ve reminded us of your presence (the Meadowlands story BLEW my mind, and I watched Brett’s shot on YouTube—amazing!) I hadn’t experienced anything ‘supernatural’ per se. I felt like that was your way of saying you ‘heard me’ (speakers, metaphor—can’t help it, I was an English major!) and that you missed those times too. Just wanted you to know, I knew it was you, and I wouldn’t trade any of our lazy days or crazy nights together for anything.

…Okay, I retract one of my previous statements. I’ve been to three Knicks game in my whole life, and the Knicks have won every time, and I KNOW that had to do with you. The Knicks-Magic game, which was supposed to be our first game together, was rescheduled for March of this year. Your dad was kind enough to give us the tickets, and let me tell you, it was the most unbelievable sports game I’ve ever attended. I was SO stressed out and on my toes, but I loved every second of it. Thanks for helping the Knicks win in overtime—not that Julie, AB, Ryan and I thought you’d have it any other way, especially on your ‘Official’ Memorial Game. (And thanks for making our Metro North train back to Chappaqua leave a minute late so AB and I wouldn’t miss it and have to hang around Grand Central until midnight on a work night!)

Miss you.

As AB has mentioned in a past post, all of us would give anything in the world to have you back here with us. But if I can think of anything good that has come out of this situation (which I know you would want us all to do,) thank you for reintroducing me to amazing friends I hadn’t seen in a while, like AB and Blake, and giving me the chance to become friends with more amazing, fun-loving people like Ryan, Anish, Elon and Andres. Thao and I keep in touch as well—Julie and I are hoping to meet up with her when we make a trip to D.C. later this month. I’ve been blessed with meeting and staying in touch your wonderful parents, who love you more than you’ll ever know. I also met both of your brothers, who you often spoke so highly of during our many ‘chat and tan’ sessions at CST. My sister had told me in the past that Drew is “such a nice, funny guy, a really good kid,” to which I said, “Well, that makes sense—he’s Jeff’s brother.” This winter, I went with AB and your dad to watch one of Brett’s basketball games—he sure does follow right in his big brother’s footsteps.

Jeff, I miss you every single day. You showed me two of the most important things in life—fun and friendship. I’m so thankful for that. Just so you know, I always have and always will consider myself blessed to have had you as a friend.

-Brooke Sager


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