W. P. Johnson


In Uncategorized on May 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm

People don’t check their cell phones at funerals.

That was the first thing I thought of as I walked out of the church from Daniel James Krawiec’s funeral today. I walked to my car alone because I had come to the funeral alone. I didn’t mind so much. I’m not a particularly social guy and tend to stick to myself. Yet this sense of solidarity felt strange to me while driving home. The funeral had been packed with friends and family, with more people than I knew in my own life. It amazed me that someone could mean a lot to so many people.

At 30, I’m fortunate that this is the first time I’ve ever had to deal with the passing of a friend. It was a very new experience to me. In fact, if I have to be completely honest, I don’t even really consider myself to be that close of a friend to Dan, at least, not compared to a good number of people that were there at the funeral today. Yet, despite the casual nature of our relationship, I echoed the sentiments that almost nearly everyone there had of him. He was a good guy. He was always there. I don’t think I realized this while he was alive but now that he’s gone, I’m starting to see how much of a presence he really had.

He played bass in a band I was in called Women. The one thing I’ll always remember about Dan is that whenever we played a show with touring bands, he’d always show up early with a stack of pizzas and a case of beer, just down to hang out. I used to think it was lame, that he was sucking up, that it was a waste of money to get a bunch of strangers food and booze, people we’d probably never see again. But thinking on it now, I can’t help but believe that all those touring bands probably remember him more than they remember anything else about their time in Philadelphia. Playing in a touring band is a rough life. You sleep on floors (if you’re lucky), you live off of shitty food, and the tone of your entire night is predicated upon how well a show goes. Bad shows mean a lot of drinking to forget. Good shows mean a lot of drinking too. But Dan was there either way, rocking out, drinking, making sure everyone had a place to stay at the end of the night and that they didn’t go hungry.

If I was one of those guys on tour, I would’ve remembered Dan. I wouldn’t have rolled my eyes or thought it was lame that he fed me and asked me if I needed a place to stay or if I wanted to come over and have a drink before the show. I would’ve been really grateful for all the stuff he did.

The first short story that I ever published was called Skin. It’s a short short, and Dan was one of the few people that left a comment about it (he’s listed at Dank). He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t feel self conscious about being a good guy, about showing support. So many people are too busy doing their own thing or they don’t know how to tell you that you’re great. But for some reason it just came easy to him to make sure everyone else was taken care of and that you felt good about yourself.

When Dan was struggling with addiction, I always had a sinking feeling that things wouldn’t end well for him. And when I finally got the phone call, I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t expecting it, but it wasn’t a shock to me. But now that I sit here, writing this, I’m surprised at how truly sad I am that he’s gone. I didn’t realize how much he was always there, going to shows, wanting to play music again. Unlike most of my friends, he even went out of his way to look at one of my stories and commented on how much he liked it.

That’s a good dude.

Posted below is a really old video of us playing at the North Star. For some of you who only know me through my writing, it’ll be a trip to see me on stage, playing music. It used to be a really big part of my life. It was a time when Dan brought a case of beer to each band practice. Because it wasn’t so much about playing music for him as it was about just hanging out and having a good time. At 30, with all the calluses on my fingers gone, my voice rusty, I wish I could do it again.

Goodbye Dan.



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