Meet Dino

DinoMilton Berle once said “laughter is an instant vacation.” Dino and I “vacationed” together a lot. Dino treated everyone around him to “vacations” on a daily basis.

I took a stroll down memory lane to dig up my favorite Dino stories for this post. I giggled by myself all night as I read our old instant message exchanges (it will come as no surprise to those who knew him that most of of our conversations began with “WOGWON”). I may have to reach out to his friends and family so I can dedicate an entire post to “The Best of Dino.” (He would love that you could abbreviate this to “The Bod.”)

Dino, Amy and I peddled video games together at EA. (Those were good times, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s something in the water in those parts). People often confused Dino with our friend Dion because they had such similar names and worked on the same team. Whenever it happened, without missing a beat, Dino would say, “I’m the dinosaur. He’s the football player,” and as was often the case when Dino had something to say, laughter erupted.

Dino kept a Razor scooter in his cube that he referred to as “the company car.” While it was undoubtedly handy to zip across EA’s sprawling campus, I always found it particularly amusing that he’d ride it inside the building, sometimes very short distances, including to my cube, which couldn’t have been more than 20 yards from his.

And Dino was a nickname guy. Everyone had at least one, but most had many. He’s the only person on the planet that I didn’t mind calling me “Kimbo” (it sounds too much like either “Dumbo” or “Bimbo.” I’ve never been keen on any nickname that might suggest I’m either an elephant or a tart). My favorites were “Special K,” “Kimakasha” — a nod to his guy Ali G, and “K Swiss,” which eventually became just “Swiss.”

I could go on and on. How I loved Dino. How I wish I could go to another comedy show, grub at Taco Bell and play old school Atari games together again.

Dino lost his battle to cancer on August 18, 2008, barely three months after being diagnosed with a liposarcoma. It was 30 pounds (yes, 30) by the time he had surgery, and in true Dino fashion, his tumor had a nickname — “Kuato.” Only Dino could share such scary news and make it funny:

“So – here’s the deal. I have a pretty large mass of something in my stomach. It starts near my waist, comes up my side, and curves over into the middle of my upper stomach just below my chest cavity… I’ve never been a thin guy (well, back in high school I was in good shape, but that went out the window once I discovered beer and dorm food), but the size of my stomach and gut are currently not in line with my weight. Not that if they cut all this crap out of my body I’d be left with a tight-ass six-pack or anything, but I certainly wouldn’t look as if I was carrying Kuato from Total Recall around in my belly.”

Kuato broke many hearts, including mine. However, Dino’s still with me. He paid me a visit tonight as I worked on this post. I went to his blog as I struggled with how to explain who Dino was to me. In the subhead were lyrics from the Rush song Marathon — “From first to last, the peak is never passed.” As I prepare to climb Kilimanjaro, I’m reminded that there is no peak when cancer is your mountain.

Good talk, D Smooth/D-luxe/Boo-D (I know you hated that one, but you don’t get to pick!). I needed it this week. I miss you. I love you. You’re in my heart forever.

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12 thoughts on “Meet Dino

  1. Pingback: Meet Amy « The Little Engine That Could

  2. Thank you for sharing this. As I struggle to know what it means to love someone I love to cancer, your words remind me that it is really in my heart where he will always live… Much strength for your climb!!

    • Yes, yes. I understand that so well. Every now and then, he catches me by surprise. There’s a guy at my gym who’s a ringer for Dino. One of the first days that I saw “Dino” there, Viva La Vida came on. I just about lost it. He’s with us and he visits when I’m least expecting it. Thanks for your support — what an incredible journey this has been already and it’s barely just begun.

  3. Dino wasa great kid. His rhyming name changing game went as fatback as I knew him. Sherman Street in Santa Cruz. Buddies with my kids Karen and Steve. He use to call my sister, Vicki , Aunt Vinegar.

  4. So, Dino has managed to make great things happen, even while he’s been gone. For example, reading this. You are an inspiration to me. I’m looking to complete a ride for cancer research soon and reading about your journey and motivations is just what I need. Best of luck.

    • Yes, yes, he has! Glad that I can inspire you. No doubt, you guys will be the wind in my sails once I get to Africa (because I will most certainly be tired, cold and have sore feet and might give up if my Diet Coke freezes on the way up). Feel free to friend me on FB or use the contact page to email me — I’d love to support you on your ride. (BTW, I used a photo from FB that I think your sister took of Dino. LOVE this photo of him. May reach out to her to make sure she’s cool with it).

  5. Kim-
    While I don’t know you well, I feel like we will be life long friends because of Dino. He and I have been friends since 1989. I can’t count the concerts, sporting events, camping trips, and random nights out together because there are just too many. He and I were soul mates in every sense of the word. My husband would always say that he knew withing 5 seconds who I was talking to on the phone when it was Dino. We had our own language. There isn’t a day that passes that he isn’t in my heart. I just know that he is so proud of you now. Keep his laughter with you through this journey. I love reading your stories about him- it just keeps him here. Please continue to share your journey and inspire us all. XO
    Andi

    • Andi, you’ll always feel like a lifelong friend because of Dino. It’s no surprise to me that he had such amazing people around him, you included. I’m so grateful to have met you and have loved getting to know him better through you (and, for the record, you share his humor. I can hear him often in things you say). I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to lose your best friend — that makes my heart hurt. So glad that you’ve kept his laughter alive. I’ll definitely do the same, and I’ll do whatever it takes to honor him. 🙂 He was one of a kind. THANK YOU for your support, my friend!

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