Monday, January 16, 2012

In Memory of Nick Statman

My friend, Nick Statman was buried today at Hillside Memorial Park nearby in Culver City, California. He was 59 years old, two weeks short of his sixtieth birthday. My wife and I attended the memorial service and his burial.

My connection to Nick started as a commercial relationship. Nick’s and my paycheck came from the same employer. Making money was the binding theme that defined the context of our relationship, at the onset anyway.

My relationship with Nick moved beyond the commercial quickly. One day, about 6 months into my tenure at the Day Job, Nick approached me and asked would my wife and I like to join him and his family—wife, brother, in-laws and cousins, for a Sunday’s Dim Sum in downtown LA. I accepted. I was glad that I did. I enjoyed myself thoroughly in the company of Nick and his family, sharing the pleasantries of a Sunday morning get together.

Another time, when Nick learned that my wife and I would be eating solo on Thanksgiving, he invited us to dine at his brother’s rather than go to a restaurant alone for our holiday meal.

Over the three years I spent getting to know Nick, he and I, and our wives, would spend more time together, mostly eating and letting our pets, his dogs and my dog, play together.

Nick was a kind, warm, somewhat cynical, wit. I never heard him utter a bad word about anybody. He never raised his voice. Nick was a generous man, an overall nice guy.  I never left his presence feeling angry or hurt.

Nick’s brother gave a thoughtful eulogy. He ended with a simple phrase, “He was my brother and I am proud of him.”  I have found it rare for so few, loving words to describe so fully the enormity of a life.

I imagine that if you did the math, you’d find out that most of us spend about half of our lifetime with and  around others in the pursuit of making money.  The odds are that we spend more time in the “workplace” then we do at home. Yet how much do we really know about those others with whom we labor for a paycheck? And more importantly, how much do we really care about them? How much do we really want to care?

It’s been my feeling for a long time that when this plane ride we call life takes its final approach and we come in for the landing, in the final analysis, we’re all going to want the same thing--to be around those we care about and those that care about us. It’s the rare person that wants to die alone.

Thus, the paradox: few of us want to be alone, but in that place where we go to make a buck everyday, when it comes to the important things, the things that really matter, many of us are alone and, for the most part, are unknown. It doesn’t have to be this way. Nick Statman’s life was living proof that the workplace could be different. He saw that a relationship could easily go beyond the commercial. He understood community.

Nick Statman was my friend. I am proud of him and all he held dear. I will miss him in ways words cannot describe. May his soul rest in peace.