Rest Easy, Christian

My friend and former bartender, Christian, passed away a few days ago. I learned this when I visited his Facebook account and read the many tributes to him. He touched so many lives during his short stay on this planet. I met Christian in 2006. I entered my pub, and an unfamiliar face greeted me as I sat at my usual seat. I cringed. Change always makes me cringe.

After being introduced by another bartender, we hit it off well. We shared a love for music and pop culture, often quoting movie lines to each other at every opportunity. I was so happy to have met a kindred spirit during a period when I was lost.

Initially, I didn’t know much about Christian; he was funny and loved sports, music, and movies. Not a night when by that I was asked by a woman at the bar what his situation was. His comedic timing and good looks were a babe magnet. Ever the wingman, I would whisper in his ear, “Hey. she likes you! Talk to her.” He would smile and wave me away and go about his business. Another man might have taken advantage of his gift, but not Christian. That made him more loveable.

One day (a day I will never forget), we talked of an obscure song he liked that he hadn’t heard for years. I had it on my iPod. He took my iPod, docked it into the bar’s iPod docking station, and played the song. From then on, he would ask for my iPod to play on his shift. When I knew he was working, I would stop by the bar during my work shift, give him my iPod, and pick it up later at night. I was so proud of my iPod. It had become the central point of entertainment, second only to liquor.

A year after I met him, I saw an unfamiliar quality. While a fellow barfly and I discussed baseball, primarily the Yankees, their owner, George Steinbrenner, and his forward-thinking helped create the YES Network, he ran from across the bar and passionately defended his father and his role in its creation.

He said, “My father met with George about creating a Yankee Network, and when the Yankees created the network, they froze my father out.” I thought he was nuts, but I admired his passion, and it prompted me to perform a quick Google search and learn that Christian’s dad was named Bob, the former president of MSG, a man instrumental in the NY Rangers Stanley Cup win in 1994.

Apparently, Christian came from a well-to-do family. Who knew? All the while, he never ever threw his pedigree in our faces. He was an everyman. I was heartbroken when he left bartending for a career behind the scenes in movies and television shows, but I was wowed when he posted photos of his new adventure. The more celebrities he met, the more humble he would be.

When he showed me the picture on the right, I almost died. Here’s a young Christian with his mom and dad, Hall of Famers Duke Snyder and Willie Mays. It blew my mind. Wow, just WOW.

He lived life to fullest despite leaving us at a young age. He touched many lives and he will never be forgotten.

So long, my brother…

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