Bil (yes, with one l) was a roommate of mine in college. He loved Stevie Nicks. He was a professional clown, with the big shoes, the red ball nose, the striped shirt, the magic tricks and balloon animals. He’d come home on Saturday afternoons, exhausted from yet another gig trying to get six year-olds to pay attention to him for a few hours, and slump into one of the many ratty couches we had arrayed around the living room/dance floor. He’d fling his feet up on the coffee table and let out a big sigh, but it was impossible to feel empathetic, because his feet were two feet long, got wider at the toes, and were bright red. He’d leave the clown shoes on, you see.

Bil dressed up as Maude Findlay for our Halloween party one year—no, he became Maude for our Halloween party one year. And when our landlord showed up in the wee hours of that night, threatening to call the cops on us, Bil/Maude said “god’ll get you for that, Frank”, and slammed the door in his face. (I realize I’m getting into reference obscurity of the Dennis Miller-level, but those who recognize the essence of the line are probably laughing hard right now.)

Bil & I and several other friends performed together on stage—in an improv group, dinner theatre, and mainstage productions at our school.

Bil was the only person who could compete with my farts. He always blamed his gas on the diabetes.

Bil’s diabetes was diagnosed while we were roommates. The day he was diagnosed, he flew through the doors of our house and demanded that all of us assembled in the living room at the time plan his funeral immediately. Of course we obliged. Dawn recalled the details today:

  • There were to be no small sausage finger foods of any kind
  • The casket was to be enshrouded in a dry ice/Rosco fog
  • Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back” was to play whenever anyone got too close to the floral arrangements
  • There was to be a specially rigged “trip seam” in the carpet that we could use to fling undesirables directly into the casket

Bil ate a salad while we planned these things.

I doubt any of these mandates will actually be implemented, but unfortunately we will find out soon enough. Bil passed away in a hospital in Los Angeles this past weekend. I still don’t know if it was the diabetes, or if that was just an accomplice in some other medical conspiracy. I just know that ever since I got a call from Kathy this afternoon, I’ve been riding a wave of highs and lows.

Bye, Bil. You will be missed.