Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Friend-David Mills 1961-2010 RIP

Image of David Mills from FacebookImage of David Mills
Some days, it is easy to think about what you want to blog about and others not so much.  Some times the words come easily and other times you struggle.  Today happens to be one of those days when I have so much I want to say, but am not sure how to say it.  I apologize ahead of time if some of my thoughts become a bit disjointed and rambling.

I was sitting at work when I received a notice on my Blackberry that I had a Facebook message.  Usually, it is junk, but unfortunately today it was not the case.  It was a message from one of my best old friends, Don Valyou.  It was to tell me that another of our dear friends, David Mills, had passed away suddenly.  Needless to say, it has hit me like a ton of bricks.  I have written tributes here for others who have passed away, but none of them have involved folks that have the personal impact as David's death has on me.

There is a lot that can be written and will be written about David's career as a writer for the Washington Post and his Emmy Award winning television career. In fact, David passed away in New Orleans of a brain aneurysm while working on a new HBO Series, Treme set to debut in a couple weeks.  I will let others write about those things.  Instead, I will pay tribute to the David Mills that I have known in my lifetime and share some of my memories of him. 

I met David in high school when we both attended DuVal High School in Lanham MD.  David, Donald, and I were teammates on the local version of It's Academic.  We won the first round and lost in the second round.  Our time together on the team led to a strong and fast friendship between the three of us.  After graduation, we all headed off to the University of Maryland.

The three of us all headed off to Maryland with different goals and different interests.  I went to study business, David to study journalism, and Donald eventually ended up studying philosophy.  The one thing that we all shared was a deep appreciation for philosophical and political debate, music, and like most college students, beer.  In those days, you could drink beer at 18. David was the youngest of the three of us, but on his 18th birthday, the three of us headed out to the Yesterday's Inn, a topless bar near campus for our first legal beers in a bar.  We spent most of the time at a table off to the side of the stage debating issues rather than watching the entertainment.

For the rest of our college careers, we continued to do a lot of things together.  One Christmas, we exchanged joke gifts with one another.  David gave me a deck of hard core porn playing cards.  I played a lot of solitaire with those.  That Christmas, I gave Donald a Buddha incense burner and David gave him a bong.  One weekend, we ended up taking a trip up to a campground and rented a cabin for the weekend.  We took a lot of beer with us that weekend, but it was there that I tried pot using the bong that David gave Donald.  It was the first of two times, both with my boyz.

Like a lot of high school and college friends, our careers and other things took us in other directions.  We got together a few times after graduation, but we eventually lost track of each other.  Over the years, I followed David's career and I have to admit I took a little bit of pride in having been friends with an Emmy Award winning television writer.  I remember working part time at Barnes & Noble a few years ago and seeing his picture in Entertainment Weekly as one of the top 100 young up and coming people in the entertainment industry.

A couple of years ago, I reconnected with David through LinkedIn, a professional social networking site.  It was there that I discovered David's blog, Undercover Black Man.  His blog inspired me to start this humble blog, so you can blame him for this being here. Eventually, I also was able to reconnect with Donald through Facebook.  Thank God for Al Gore's Amazing Internet and Social Media.

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to be able to get together with David and Donald again.  We went to dinner one night at Ledo's and split a pizza.  Another night, the two of them attended a Bowie Baysox game with my family.  It was like we had never been apart.  I had hoped that we would be able to have more of those get togethers whenever David would come back to town.

As I mentioned previously, David's blog inspired me to start my blog.  During the election of 2008, he was a big supporter of Obama, I was not.  When Obama won the election, I wrote a post called Welcome to the USSA.  David commented on my post that he was confident that Obama would govern as a centrist and not hard left.  I had been meaning to email David to see if he still felt that way.  Tragically, I will not know in this lifetime.

Let me close by saying to David that I am so happy were able to reconnect and get together last summer.  I love you and miss you already.  You have been and will always be a very dear friend.  It has been a privilege and an honor to know you and call you my friend.  While it isn't my typical musical fare, I know that you loved you some P-funk, so I send you off with this.  See you on the other side. 

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  1. This was a truly great tribute to a man I have never meant, but I greatly admired his contributions to The Wire. My wife and I are both HUGE fans of the show, and we are both so looking forward to the start of Treme. I am so sorry for your loss.

    By the way, be assured that much of President Obama's problems with being an effective leader has to do with his reluctance to go as far to the left as his base wants him to, but on the other hand, he has been a miserable failure at cultivating any support from the right. I suppose we'll see if he makes more of an effort to get better at that after this November.

  2. That is a greta tribute to your friend.I grieve with you on the loss.

  3. actually, david was not a big supporter of obama. he often posted highly critical things about him (before and after the election) and it wasn't at all clear to me that he would actually vote for him.

    he did love to argue and debate and he was good at it, so good it was hard to tell where he stood sometimes.

    i was a faithful follower of his blog and a friend in real life from DC also. and i am heartbroken he didn't live long enough to see treme debut to the rave reviews i know it will get.

    at least he was featured prominently in the NYT cover piece, just a week ago.

    the second to the last blog post he ever did was criticizing a speech of obama i think early on he was a hillary supporter. if i am remembering correctly.

    thanks for sharing your time with david; i didn't know how you too knew each other.

  4. Dickster,

    Sorry to hear the news. Your friend had a very interesting bio.


  5. Like you I'm also an adsense publisher. I do love adsense. And so, before I get banned from adsense I removed from my blog the EC drop widget because of this post which I like you to comment. Thanks.

  6. A moving tribute to a friend. I remember It's Academic from when I grew up. Nice memory sharing that.

  7. I am so sorry for your loss Dickster; this is a lovely and moving tribute to your friend. It is funny how some friendships never change and you can just pick up where you left off no matter how many years have passed - these are the truly great friendships. David certainly lived a very full and interesting life; what a wonderful legacy to his family and friends:)



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