If you die in Canada, you die in real life

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xkcd #180 - Canada

I love xkcd. It is def­i­nitely my most fa­vorite we­b­comic ever. Erik Torstensson was the one to in­tro­duce me to it. Living in Canada, this par­tic­ular strip surely must have made him chuckle. Al­ways when a great xkcd strip went on­line we’d laugh about it to­gether through in­stant mes­sag­ing. Now we’ll never do that any­more… Last weekend Erik died in Canada, and while I still don’t be­lieve it, I’ll have to learn to ac­cept that this means he died in real life.

Erik has helped me through some re­ally rough times, “threat­ening” even to take the next plane to the Nether­lands to straighten me out. I might not even be here to write this if it hadn’t been for him. And there are many with sim­ilar sto­ries. He’s touched a lot of lives in pro­found ways, making each one a little hap­pier. No matter how much life got him­self down, he’d al­ways be there to cheer up sad­dened friends.

If there’s one thing Erik had to teach, it’s that life is what you make of it. That if you follow your am­bi­tions, and don’t give up in the face of ad­ver­sity, any­thing is achiev­able. What you’ll come to re­gret the most is not acting on your am­bi­tions, rather than acting on them and not get­ting im­me­diate suc­cess. So apply for that job, go on that trip, buy that new gad­get, learn some­thing new, do some­thing ex­cit­ing, visit that old friend. It’ll be one less thing to re­gret.

Per­son­ally, my biggest re­gret in life is never having met Erik in per­son, even though I’ve known him for years. This summer I might have been in Canada any­way, so it would have been an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to visit. But why would I need any other reason to be in Canada than to visit my best friend? “There’s al­ways an­other day” is a poor ex­cuse, be­cause there isn’t al­ways.

Old for his age in wis­dom; young for his age in spirit. Never too old to goof around; al­ways too young to die. He will be sorely missed. My best wishes go out to his other friends, his fam­ily, and most of all to Jacquie. I hope you share Erik’s strength to bounce back from any­thing life throws at you, even some­thing like this.

Erik Torstensson6 June 1982 – 23 May 2009
Erik Torstensson
6 June 1982 – 23 May 2009