Mike the Gentle Caveman

My friend Mike Fordham died this week in Greenville, SC. After taking a few aspirin because he wasn’t feeling well, he got up to go to the bathroom and had a massive heart attack along the way. Carol his wife started CPR but he had already followed the bright light out of here.

Mike and Carol didn’t have any children, but he is survived by his community of artists, queers, freaks, geeks, and all in between. Guess that tells you something about who he was. The best thing about Mike was the fact that he busted stereotypes. Looking like Charles Manson, Mike actually had a big heart under that mean exterior.  How in the hell could a mean-looking guy be so damn nice? Why is little Mikey so easy to hug? Damn, I’d never want to get on your shit list!

Mike was a proud caveman. A model-maker and collector, he still had an old caveman model from his childhood in the 1960s. We spoke about the apocalypse often, always speculating about when it would come and how we’d survive. Being a fatherly sort, and a huge lover of hard science, fantasy and sci-fi, Mike would always tell me that we’d all get through it together. Somehow, living in the wild hunting and gathering with Mike around made me feel better. Having Mike there as the gentle caveman, ready to pounce and get food or protect the tribe, always calmed me in times of apocalyptic stress.

Never rich, never poor, one with the ways of Slack and barely working to get by, Mike possessed a calmness that my ex said best as “being very comfortable in his own skin.” Mike always had a room full of models and a bookshelf full of books an blue glass. He liked dinosaur toys, and black light art. He also drank soda like water, smoked weed, and was a proud omnivore. He used to have a sticker on his car that said something like, “Vegetarians make good appetizers.”

Mike will be missed by his family and community. When my friend Kathleen called me about the news, I reacted with foul language. Kathleen said that’s how she reacted when she found out. I can only bet that Carol is pissed and heart broken too. Monkey Boy has left this world for wherever he felt he needed to go to. Somewhere up there in the universe, out there was probably Mike’s favorite place to visit, his energy swirls around and floats away. While all of us down here avoid our sadness by telling a crazy story about that crazy motherfucker.

So I’ll leave with this one quick image: Imagine a video titled “A Video in Need of a Title.” Mike plays the dead man bent over with his head stuck in a sliding door. In one scene, he’s a coffee table for a nun and a safari leader having tea. In another scene, a twisted monk sees his dead ass poking out. He goes over, hikes his habit, and the scene cuts to Mike’s head getting banged through the door crack.

Yep, that’s Mikey all right!

PS: As the credits rolled for Superman Returns, I toasted Mike with a Pepsi, some candy, and a tear. He would’ve like the opening credits of the film