Column Chronicles
An obituary for a friend
Frank Cotolo
October 19, 2017
Rarely, if ever, do I approach this blog with a personal message. I try to stay objective and deal with popular issues, sometimes vague and lacking facts, but rarely - and by rarely I mean never - do I get on a soapbox to advocate one side or another of any issue.
This time, though, I am making an exception because my friend, Sal Van Desparado, is dead and I have to share personal things about him with my readers because he was a man of principle - in fact he was a principal once at an inner-city school - and he had integrity we all should strive to have, if not at Sal's level then less, which would still be better than most of us attain in a lifetime.
Sal never made a headline for all his accomplishments because he was humble and as he used to say to me if I bragged about anything I did: "Don't brag. Be humble." Still, it is true that Sal did great things worthy of big headlines.
First, Sal found a cure for cancer. He wanted to reveal it but he did not want the credit. Also, he did not want to be stalked and threatened 24 hours a day by nefarious men with daggers from the pharmaceutical industry.
Sal burned the cure for cancer, which he wrote down on one side of a brown paper bag, saying, "If I get cancer, at least I will be cured because I will tell the doctors how to save me. But those horrible thugs that threatened my life will die slow and painful deaths if they get cancer."
Sal saved my life three times. The first time, he pushed me out of the way of a piano falling from a nine-story window. I remember Sal said, "I don't know why they don't use the stairs to bring things that heavy to the ground."
The second time he saved my life I was sleepwalking at an archery tournament and wandered onto the field of targets. Sal ran out, dodging all the oncoming arrows and pulled me to safety. After he woke me up he said, "I told you not to come to the archery tournament because it bores you and you fall to sleep."
The third time Sal saved my life I was on the brink of suicide, kneeling with my head in my stove. Sal came into my house (he had a key), saw me there and said, "Good thing you didn't turn on the gas, you would have been dead by now."
Extraordinary people are rare. In fact, there are few of them. Sal Van Desperado was that rare one in a zillion who can be called extraordinary for more reasons than I can list in a single blog or five single blogs. Maybe no one else liked him but that doesn't matter because to have a single friend, just one single friend, just a single, solitary individual friend, is more a friend than most people who have 23 or 45 friends.
Sal Van Desperado died due to the sloppiness of a short-order cook. Not from the food the guy was cooking - from the gun he fired at Sal's head, which was meant for the guy sitting next to Sal. I will miss Sal, especially the next time my life has to be saved.
Frank Cotolo can be found hosting the talk and interview programme Cotolo Chronicles. You can send him an e-mail at this address:
Copyright © 2009-2017 SRN Mediaworks Productions, in association with Frank Cotolo.
All rights reserved. We are not responsible for the content of external links. | Cafe | Fab | Radio | Local