April 19, 1957 - March 15, 2004
"I hate the living"
It's odd to try and sum up one of your closest friends in a few sentences. Laer was a great guy. Laer was a jerk. He was funny as hell, opinionated as hell, we got along great, and we hated each other's guts.
I first met him in 1994 through a mutual friend, Jody, here in LA. Because we were both "in" to death, Jody thought we would get along well. We didn't. Not. At. All. The first time we went out, I was a bit crabby and moody (so what else?) and Laer dropped me off, hoping never to see me again I'm sure. Somehow we did more through Jody's influence, and we became friends.
I have no idea why, because we
had little in common. In fact, we often discussed our lack of anything in common, usually over cocktails, which is probably what we had in common. That and
We were good drinking buddies. The Detour in LA was a favorite haunt, but we also liked exploring new drinking holes.
And holes they usually were, but that was half the fun of it. Laer also really enjoyed going with me on my Findadeath photo shoots. He was really pleased to have been the one to encourage me to go to the basement of the new cathedral downtown, where we found Gregory Peck buried there.
See, Laer was into architecture, and I
couldn't care less. He said, "Let's go see the basement." I rolled my eyes and thought,
let's throw him a bone," and went, realizing
later how right he was. It's just the way we were with each other.
Laer lived in an area called Korea Town. Not well known as a nice area, his building was fab.
When people would ask where he lived, he would reply,
"Hancock Park," which is the
pricey area nearby, meanwhile shooting me a dirty look to keep my trap shut, because I would always roll my
eyes and ask him when he moved to Hancock Park.
I moved to London in 1996 to pursue my own life and interests, and Laer stuck it out here. Apparently he was quite upset with me for leaving. I was upset too, but knew I had to get on with it. He did come to visit me while in London, and we had a great couple of weeks.
Upon my return to Los Angeles in July of 2002, Laer and I took back up to hanging out, mostly in the bar at a restaurant called The Silver Spoon.
Laer was a serious drinker, and although I would be considered one as well, for some reason watching my friend self-destruct was difficult for me, and I wanted my life to be more than that. I stopped speaking to Laer for a few months, just telling him that I wanted to get my own life together, and
didn't want it to be all about the drinks.
Just after Thanksgiving, a mutual friend named Penny called me to let me know that Laer was in Cedars Sinai with pneumonia.
He was in a coma. I went in to see him, but he didn't know I was there. My conscience played up and I visited more. When Laer was finally released, we resumed our friendship. I knew Laer was not quite himself any more, though for a while he seemed to be on the mend, there was much on his mind. Physically he was quite defeated, but for a while there were sparks of the old Laer and all would be right in his world.
Penny, took the last picture I have with Laer, while we were comparing tattoos. I'll treasure this.
The last time I saw Laer was on Monday the 8th of March, 2004. I picked him up and we ran some errands. We didn't speak much as he was pretty weak. I took him to lunch at Philippe's downtown. He had a pork sandwich, pickled egg and macaroni salad. Philippe's is good.
After that, I dropped him back at his apartment.
I spoke to him on Wednesday the 10th, when he called me while I was playing a game of LIFE with a friend.
We only spoke for a minute - just the usual,
"Hi, I'm not dead," phone call that
he did pretty often. I didn't know it, but it was the last time I would speak to him.
I know now that Laer was comfortable with the prospect of dying. He was readmitted to Cedars (he phoned the ambulance himself) and upon being admitted, it was found that he was heading for complete organ failure. He was in the respiratory intensive care unit at Cedars, in a coma and on life support.
At 3 p.m. yesterday, the 15th of March 2004 -
his life support was turned off. It took a little more than two hours, but
at 5:20 p.m. Laer died. I was with him, as well as another friend. We
each held one of his hands, and I encouraged him to take the leap. I don't know what I expected to happen, but
it just did. No bells and whistles - he simply drew his last breath.
He was 46 years old.
I paid 10 dollars for that privilege, and feel honored to have done it.
Laer was taken to Hollywood Forever Cemetery
and has been cremated.
We often talked about what we wanted done with our remains. We even spoke of getting a joint niche with Rockem Sockem Robots for urns.
We ended up getting Laer a niche,
and I bought one for myself, appropriately at the opposite end of the row.
A memorial was held on May 1, 2004 at Hollywood Forever.
Beforehand, a few of us decorated his niche, laughed like hell, and posed for pictures.
After his niche was sealed we gathered to eulogize Laer.
Laer's friend Linda stood outside the mausoleum to ensure our privacy, and commented on how nice it was to hear so many people laughing. We should all be so fortunate. I learned a lot about my buddy that day. Good things. Afterwards, some went to the El Coyote and ate, others like myself went to the Silver Spoon and got totally trashed.
I have my own portion of Laer (or Shaer of Laer) in my home. A Ganesh statue that belonged to him is the one thing I wanted, and it was hollow, so I put him in it, but first removing a tiny shaer for my key chain.
I know that Laer would be dead chuffed, to be part of this website.
I remember one time, Laer and I were driving in
his little blue beater car, he called "the roach." One of our
favorite things was to drive up and down the hills of Los Angeles, really
fast. On this day we were coming down one particular hill, and his brakes
gave out. We were absolutely terrified, because the bottom of the hill was
a cross street. We made it thru the intersection unscathed, laughing
hysterically the entire time. That was the kind of relationship we had.
He's been gone exactly 24 hours now. I'll miss you my buddy.
Trivia: Wanna see his mailbox?
More: Laer always ate lunch on the weekends at the El Coyote.
I never understood it, because the food is disgusting. He didn't understand it either, and continued to go. Jody and I are going tonight.
More: Laer's favorite song was Smiling Faces.
I picked a rough month to quit smoking, but I did. It's been three weeks now, and I'm done. Why Allan Carr doesn't get more attention, I'll never know. No scare tactics, just common sense, and in a 3 hour online course. Thing is, you have to want to. I do.
March 2008: This week is Laer's 4th anniversary. I still don't smoke (though I've porked), and some Death Hags and I went to Phillippe's last Sunday. To acknowledge my dead buddy, I brought what I have of his cremains, and had a beer in his honor, and tasted a pickled egg. vile.