A life worth celebrating

The article we wish we never had to publish. I asked Jordan to write it, in part because Keith recommended him and got him the job here at BME (not to imply he's not fully qualified, but Keith's recommendation was a deeply trusted one!), and I suppose in part because I feared I simply didn't have the strength to write it myself.

I woke up a few short hours later and, as I’m prone to do, headed straight for my computer. I hopped on IAM, checked my messages, and saw one that read simply, “Sad day.”

With the London terror attack fresh in my mind, I jump over to CNN, expecting to see the end of the world — but nothing. Then it occurs to me, Of course, BME is under attack again — we’re being shut down for good this time. I go right for Shannon’s page, and that’s where I see it.

Kind of like stepping out of bed and into a bus.

It doesn’t seem real because it can’t be.

PS. Seriously Keith, could you have picked a less morbid avatar?

(Original forum unavailable, sorry)*

I'd like to mirror my note in the article here.

Keith and I (Shannon) in Toronto right before he went on stage with Dee Snider's SMF Keith Alexander is the very first person that was ever interviewed on BME. Not just because he was one of the best piercers and scarification artists around, running a new studio that deserved coverage, but because I trusted him and knew I needed his help to have BME take this step in its evolution. Later Keith would play a key role in BME/radio, helping develop and refine the IAM software’s feature set, and nearly every other step in BME’s growth as well.

Rachel — who was just as close to Keith — and I were in Belgium when we heard the terrible news, finding out after seeing the friend we were staying with looking at her morning email and then suddenly starting to sob. It didn’t feel real at all… Was it some sick joke? The site had crashed the day before and instead of being online, Keith decided to go out for a ride, and one of those random twists of fate suddenly ended his life. If I was a better programmer and the crash hadn’t happened would it have been averted? If Rachel had chosen a more responsive host and we could have rebooted more quickly might he have stayed at home chatting with friends? It just seemed impossible that something so random and meaningless could kill someone as larger-than-life as Keith, but somehow, it happened.

He was a friend and mentor for my entire adult life, and like Jordan, I have trouble finding the words to say how I feel without it sounding desperately incomplete and shallow. For those that didn’t know Keith Alexander, know that his contributions to this community went a long way to making piercing and scarification — and BME — what it is today (to say nothing of his accomplishments in other fields). But more than anything, take his advice and live. There are a thousand ways that Keith supported me and a thousand things he tried to teach me, but I don’t think I ever met a man that lived life with more heart, and if I learned anything from him, I hope it’s that.

Shannon Larratt

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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