Good-bye, Cort

fritz-gatoI found out that one of my neighbors from college died, apparently from a drug-induced overdose of some kind. It was self-inflicted and maybe intentional.
ETA: Well, I heard wrong. I have heard since he shot himself, quite intentionally.

Cortland was my neighbor and my friend. He was a drinker, which was pretty standard for my college friends. He was an artist, too, which was also pretty standard. Well, I was in the art program.

He was fun and sarcastic and cynical. He had a unique, emphatic way of speaking. He would come over almost every night and drink his first quart of beer (Florida had some strange beer import laws at the time. We didn’t have 40’s. We had quarts. Which were synonymous with his nickname.) He would never finish his second quart, which he would inevitably kick over at some point, along with anything else his combat boots could catch. We kept a “shit towel” specifically for Cort to clean up his almost nightly spills.

Our friends all got lousy tattoos together in his apartment, which was a mirror image of ours, from a wandering hippie tattooing friend of his. He got R. Crumb’s Fritz the Cat on his leg. I found the exact picture he used for the tattoo, strangely enough on the cover of a Spanish printing of it but whatever. That was on the side of his lower leg. He used to call me “a bowl and a half kind of a girl,” which was a private joke.

He was always a tortured, sensitive artist type. I always suspected he would have trouble adapting to being a responsible grown up in society. I never knew him to do any hard drugs, one that would lead to a lonely overdose, but more than 15 years have passed since I sat across my living room from him.

His passing reminds me of Don McLean’s Vincent.

Good-bye Cort. This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you. Love, the bowl and a half kind of a girl

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