I found out last night that a man I'd intermittently corresponded with on the Internet over the years had died. His name was Sheldon Brown and he lived in Massachusetts. It would be dishonest to say that he and I were close friends but he was someone I knew slightly through Internet user groups and respected though politely disagreed with on several issues.
Martin Heidegger wrote about how it is in caring for others that we separate ourselves from the animals and from inanimate objects. I think that is probably the truest thing that Heidegger ever said. Humans care for each other not because we have family ties or because it necessarily makes us more successful as a species in an immediate way but because we realize how much alone we would otherwise be. Other people add beauty to our lives. In at least some small way I cared for Sheldon Brown because he made me feel less alone and added beauty to my life; I hope that I did a little of both for him.
I am saddened by the death of Sheldon Brown. My world was made better because he was included in my life if only as a fellow poster on user groups that dealt with antique bicycles and bicycle touring.
I will grieve for Sheldon Brown today and weep in my own quiet way with his family. It is the caring thing to do; it is the human thing to do; it is all that I can do.
Rest in Peace Mr. Brown
Until Next Time
The blogger who is getting old enough to have friends die.