Old buddy Tom McCormack died today after a battle with cancer. This was one funny, earthy and unique guy, a newspaper sports writer with edgy New York stylings in slightly kinder/gentler New Haven County.
I base part of my writing style on his rants, which were punctuated by profanity and wild analogies, delivered in a bellowing standup routine over my desk (and then the desk of someone nearby, and someone else as he moved the material across the newsroom). One time he was standing over my computer late at night (while we were waiting for the paper to come up to the newsroom) and someone mentioned a quirky female photographer. "That (blanking blank) couldn't hit deadline with SHOTGUN!" And I shrank in my chair because that blanking blank was at the mailboxes about 40 feet away, and Tom never whispered.
Some of the stories aren't fit for polite conversation, but Tommy was better than polite. He was well-read, a good writer, a decent person and enthusiastic about exploring the ironies and vagaries of modern life (not to mention the Kennedy assassination). He had a snarky nickname for some characters and would greet others with their name followed by "Sweetheart!" He's the kind of guy whose memory will always bring a fond chuckle.