Some people matter to us beyond their lifetime. I celebrate those people for the good they contributed to the world and the positive effects they had on my own life.
25 years ago I met Geoff, a fellow-motorcyclist. Geoff was a fascinating fellow, deeply knowledgeable about many subjects. Long before math-based cryptology became well-known for encryption Geoff worked in that field and educated me about it. He opened my eyes to various scientific developments. His hobbies included unusual adventures like building an electric motorcycle and "jail-breaking" his Apple cellphone to remove proprietary restrictions.
Of course what really drew me to Geoff wasn't his intellect but his irreverence. His personality was rare: deviant but rational, offbeat but playful, and constantly comedic. When you were with Geoff, you laughed heartily. Riding with Geoff was fun, too; he'd twist his body sideways, then backwards and lie flat on his back while riding a motorcycle at 40 mph. I remember laughing in my helmet at Geoff's crazy antics and hoping he wouldn't crash.
Geoff taught me to explore new things, ignore convention and lighten up. His heretical attitude rubbed some folks the wrong way but that was their problem, not his. Geoff was fun to be around and truly educational if you paid attention.
I think about Geoff now because he passed away in December eleven years ago. He was only 40-something and was tragically struck down by a brain-tumor that came out of nowhere. A reminder that our lives are fragile and can disappear in an instant. We should remember our friends. I miss Geoff and celebrate his legacy.