PATRICK STEPHENSON

Earthbound concerns of an ascendant adult

R.I.P. Jake Betz

with one comment

Two weeks ago, Jake Betz—an IT guy here at Fallon—lost his sight while sparring at a neighborhood gym. He was taken to HCMC, where they found swelling on his brain and elected to medically induce a coma. Jake has, then, been comatose for the past two weeks. There were a few bright spots along the way (he balled his fist up once, scaring a nurse), and the swelling went down.

But the damage to his brain is “profound and irreversible,” and they’re taking him off life support today. (Jake was into organ donation, and 40 people’ll be helped by all the organs he’s donating.) He was a cool guy, and it’s going to be REALLY weird not seeing him around anymore. The mood here is solemn, and we’re all very sad. I wrote the following—describing my first meeting with Jake—for his CaringBridge:

In November 2007, Jake was my introduction to Fallon. Or, rather, he was my first impression of Fallon. After several months of struggling to find a job, I found one at Fallon as a proofreader—and I was relieved but intimidated.

On my first day, after Linda (Senior Proofreader) showed me to my desk, I sat there quietly for a few minutes, feeling overwhelmed. Soon after, Jake showed up to introduce me to my work PC and Lotus Notes. Here’s this burly guy—bald, tattooed, a total brawler with one of his eyes all bloodshot from a fight—giving me computer instructions! His explanations of Lotus were, to say the least, profanity-filled. Eff this, eff that. I don’t remember the specifics, but I remember the essence.

And as I listened to Jake, acting all nonchalant and not at all shocked, I was like, “WHERE AM I? WHAT IS THIS PLACE?” It was insanely awesome. “This is my Jakey,” said Linda, once the computer introductions were complete. “He stops by and gives me hugs.” And Jake gave her a hug! It was a Walt Whitman-esque lesson: “Do I contradict myself / Very well then, I contradict myself / I contain multitudes.” This is Jake, the tough-looking brawler who, every so often, stops by your desk to give you a hug (and eat the chocolate chip cookies you’ve baked for him). He contains multitudes. And also, he wants you to keep your computer’s desktop clean.

After meeting Jake, I went about my business at Fallon a bit more comfortably. And since then, I’ve become even better versed in what a great place it is. But Jake was my introduction, and without him, there is no Fallon. Best wishes to Jake and his family. He obviously means a lot to all of us.

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Written by patiomensch

July 31, 2008 at 11:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I’m sorry about Jake. You wrote a great dedication to him.A continuation of the poem.:

    “I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
    I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

    I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
    If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

    You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
    But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
    And filter and fibre your blood.

    Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
    Missing me one place search another,
    I stop somewhere waiting for you.”

    Emily

    July 31, 2008 at 12:05 pm


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