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.