Thursday, February 05, 2009

As if words could suffice

I first met Robert Duquette very nearly five years ago.

Update. Working the search function a little harder, I found that I first met Robert nearly 6 years ago.

The intertubes provide an entirely new conduit to meeting people and forming relationships. So, despite the disembodied aspect, I will not put scare quotes around the word met. His essential self was clearly visible, no matter the intervening keyboard, silicon, wires, photons, and pixels.

One of the true measures of a man is how he acts when no one is watching.

This is all too obvious on blogs, where ranting and vicious insults are so often the rule. Under the cloak of anonymity, the real person is clear for all to see.

Duck was a rare exception. Always calm and articulate, he obviously gave a great deal of thought to everything he said. Even when provoked, he was always reasoned and civil. He could do sarcasm as well as anyone, but it was never cruel, and always had a point.

After enough discussions over a wide enough range of topics, even though conducted with someone you have never seen and whose real name you probably don't know, it is impossible to avoid wondering if the simulacrum bears any resemblance to the real person. The answer is: Yes.

How do I know?

Experience. Due to the rather unique attributes of my job, I have been able to meet a pretty fair number of people who have become post-it friends.

In person, he was everything you would expect from what he wrote. Smart. Knowledgeable. Honorable. Intrinsically decent. Excellent company, whether over dinner, or on a road trip.

Rather than accept pat answers, he worked hard, and, in my opinion, successfully at discerning what was really going on underneath superficial explanations of human nature, morality, philosophy, reason and religion. He had the courage to squarely confront unwelcome answers to difficult questions.

For that alone, he was a a rare man: he had brains enough to learn, and concern enough to make the effort.

Rest in peace, Duck.

Due to occupational imposed vagaries, I am writing this days later than I wanted. Consequently, I find others have already said what I wanted to, only better.

On Random Distractions, 60 going on 16 said: Such sad news, M. And ToE's tribute is so eloquent. One of the most positive aspects of blogging is the new dimension it has brought to the nature of friendship, as we and many others have discovered.

Brit proved once again that there are few writers as good as he is, and none better.

David was a model of concision: I resent this death. We do not have so many good men that we can afford to spare one.


Blogger Brit said...

Very well said, Skipper.

Robert's brother David has left a message here.

February 06, 2009 8:41 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

It took me awhile, but here is a pretty good Google search string to find Robert's comments on the BrothersJudd blog:

brothersjudd "Posted by: Robert D"+", 2002"

Click on repeat the search with the omitted results included.

Replace 2002 with the desired year.

In 2004, Robert began posting comments as Robert Duquette, then by around October of 2004 went to Duck, so replace Robert D as required.

Also, Bob posted comments at Diversely We Sail, an excellent but unfortunately short lived blog.

Additionally, Bob also posted at the blogs listed on the right side bar under The Post Judd Alliance.

(Post Judd, because the proprietor there -- who was responsible for getting us all together -- started vandalizing comments. Bob didn't put up with that for long.)

February 06, 2009 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely done, Skipper.

February 07, 2009 3:55 AM  
Blogger Sher (aka Libby) said...

Booby Du! (said with the same tone as Scooby Do) was my sweetie. He spoke of you often and shared stories of you that gave me a picture greater than the pixels on page. You were not simply fellow bloggers, you were friends. He was everything you have said and more. I find some solice in the fact that I realized and treasured that fact every day we were together. But I ache.

Please join others who love him Thursday at 10am Eastern to lift up a prayer, howl at the moon, bang a drum, write in all caps on your computer, toast a micro brew, don your favorite Hawaiian shirt, quaff coffee in a bookstore or...

I am happy for him that he had you, each of you touched his life in good ways. I would like to exchange emails directly with any of you who might be willing.

cyber hug,

February 07, 2009 5:51 AM  
Blogger Sher (aka Libby) said...

Help me. please. i cannot bear the pain.

February 07, 2009 6:04 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...


My email is

(In case it isn't obvious, replace ==at-- with the @ symbol)

February 08, 2009 12:12 AM  
Blogger joe said...

I am truly shocked and saddened to hear of Robert's passing. I just found out while looking through my RSS feeds and heading for the Daily Duck. My heart-felt condolences to his friends and family.

I always found his commenting on the Judd blog to be among the most intelligent and civil - far more so than Orrin ever deserved.

"(Post Judd, because the proprietor there -- who was responsible for getting us all together -- started vandalizing comments. Bob didn't put up with that for long.)"

I have a little souvenir from that time, in case anyone feels like revisiting it. For a while I kept track of Orrin's editing of people's posts, with the before and after. It can be found here. I didn't publicize it at the time, because I figured that Orrin would just automatically delete everything I wrote once he knew about this. As it turned out, he eventually did that anyway. Like I said, Robert was, of course, far too good and civil a commenter for an outfit like the Brothers Judd.

Sher, I can't begin to imagine your suffering at this time. My heart goes out to you.

-- creeper

February 08, 2009 5:18 AM  
Blogger monix said...

Sher - my email is at the top of my blog.

February 08, 2009 6:49 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

I have a little souvenir from that time, in case anyone feels like revisiting it.

Well, that made for some interesting re-reading.

BTW -- the very first link you cited has vanished ...

February 09, 2009 11:36 PM  

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