T Nation

RIP, Dr Skeptix


#1

It is with a heavy, heavy heart that I rejoin you all here. I just got some very bad news from Pushharder: Dr Skeptix, our mutual friend, and a well-known personality here on the forums, has just passed away.

Doc was a very private man, and so I will respect his wish to keep from divulging his name or personal information here on the site, but suffice to say that he was well-known and well-loved in his community, and will be deeply missed.

I met Doc right here on the Politics forum nearly a decade ago. We didn't always agree, particularly when the topic drifted toward religion. He was learned enough to be able to whoop my ass in any theological discussion (usually by invoking an obscure Torah passage in the original Aramaic), but wise and humble enough not to rub my ignorance in my face.

Over the years, our acquaintance grew into a real friendship, and a couple years ago I visited him in person. He was even more charming...and even more acerbically funny, in real life. We shared many martinis (he made the best martinis and margaritas I have ever tasted), many great meals, and many great conversations.

As a result of knowing Doc, I finally met Pushharder and TC.

Shortly before I left for Thailand, Doc was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And not the relatively benign kind like Steve Jobs had. It was adenocarcinoma, the bad kind, that usually kills you within three months.

I suppose here is the appropriate place to mention that Dr Skeptix's moniker was not a mere affectation. He was a real doctor, one of the best I have ever encountered. He was a real-life Gregory House MD, with a gift for oncological diagnostics that bordered on supernatural. And so of course the Universe, in its capriciously ironic way, chose to strike down this good man--whose wisdom and skill had saved the lives of countless people suffering from "incurable" cancers--with a truly incurable cancer.

I bring up Doc's diagnostic skills because I happened to be with him when he read the faxed lab report of his blood test, which he deciphered immediately, coming up with diagnosis and prognosis within a millisecond. I remember thinking that it would be tough to play poker with Doc, because as he read his death sentence, his face was utterly unreadable. I suppose when one has experienced every possible reaction to the worst possible news imaginable, one is better prepared to receive it oneself. Or perhaps not. As I said, I have no idea what was going through my friend's mind.

Adenocarcinoma is usually fatal within three months. Doc lasted five. He diagnosed himself on the 4th of July, and made his final exit on Christmas Day.

His wisdom, his warmth, and his voice will be sorely missed, here and elsewhere.


#2

:frowning:

I always enjoyed his posts. He will be missed.

My condolences to his family and his friends.

2b


#3

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#4

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#5

This is a sad day.

Doc was possibly the smartest person I ever personally knew, certainly smarter than I, and probably knew more about just about everything than anyone he interacted with. And yet, he always, always spoke to you as an equal human being. His respect and the careful, wise way in which he handled others was often disarming. He was charming, interesting, and razor sharp.

I was lucky enough to have been able to befriend Doc outside of T-Nation. I was also deeply honored and deeply depressed to have been made privy to his diagnosis after he learned of it. As David said, he relayed his death sentence to me in the most matter of fact, gentle, unflinching manner. True to his character, it was as if he was concerned more about my feelings even as he was staring death in the face. I can only imagine what an excellent doctor he must have been for countless patients in the same position. Never mind that he was also a genius oncologist.

The world has lost a great man this week. And there is a real paucity of great men such as he. My prayers are with him and his family.

Truly this is a sad day.


#6

This is terrible news. I have(had) enormous respect for his intelligence, integrity and humility. When I first started posting here Doc sent me a PM welcoming me and I really enjoyed his contribution to the debates here. He didn’t post very often but whenever I saw his name on a thread I’d go to it and read what he had to say as it was always a well thought out response to the topic. I wish I had more to say but this is quite a shock. RIP Doc. You’ll be missed by me and many others who knew you personally. Very sad news.


#7

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#8

I would not have thought myself capable of being so saddened by the death of someone I never met in person. But I am. Doc was all brain, wit, and class, and his were my favorite posts to read. I’m lucky to have had the chance to spar with him a number times, and that he was kind enough not to dwell on the fact that I was always comically outmatched.


#9

[quote]pushharder wrote:
He was my best friend.[/quote]
I’m so sorry.


#10

I found out yesterday. I was texting Push merry xmas and his reply was, “I just found out a minute ago that my best friend died”… Tried to comfort him the best I could via text, but that’s just gotta suck. My heart goes out to all of you that knew him. I wish I were half as smart as you guys who knew him and looked up to him. Humbling… While I am saddened by the loss, there’s a selfish part of me that is also sad that I never got the chance to meet the Doc in person. As smh said up there, I don’t often feel sad for people I’ve never met. This is an exception. RIP doc.


#11

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#12

We do, push, really we do. We’ve been talking about it for a while. When you can, let’s do it.


#13

Yes, Push. Please join us whenever you can.


#14

[quote]angry chicken wrote:
I found out yesterday. I was texting Push merry xmas and his reply was, “I just found out a minute ago that my best friend died”… Tried to comfort him the best I could via text, but that’s just gotta suck. My heart goes out to all of you that knew him. I wish I were half as smart as you guys who knew him and looked up to him. Humbling… While I am saddened by the loss, there’s a selfish part of me that is also sad that I never got the chance to meet the Doc in person. As smh said up there, I don’t often feel sad for people I’ve never met. This is an exception. RIP doc.

[/quote]

I kind of feel the same way. I always respected Doc’s posts but never really took the time to interact with him. My loss.


#15

My deepest condolences, Push.


#16

I learned a lot reading his posts. He sounds like a great man. RIP.


#17

Sympathy to those who were close to him. I didn’t know him well.

Nice to see you back Varq


#18

And my sympathies (and envy) for those personally close to him.


#19

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#20

4 years seems so small in comparison to life as a whole. However, it is the greatest gift Doc gave me --4 years of friendship.

Quiet dinners, deep conversations, some I participated and others…well, I just sat back with a smile on my face and listened. Thank you, TC and my man, Push. Seeing this gentle, quiet man enjoy making a lavender infused gin and tonic while opera played in the background and his old dog standing guard, is a memory I’ll never forget. He was like a tall angel silhouetted there in his kitchen with the the California dusk behind him.

Ahhh…his smile, there are many kinds… one of delight at seeing his white cactus flowers, and others filled with such kindness.

The smile he gives you while he is forming this intellectual poetry you can’t argue with even if by some slim chance you were right.

I will miss his sense of humor and kind eyes. He danced with my daughter in a Christmas lit gazebo. Told her she could be anything – strength, encouragement, knowledge, ect…

I love Doc…plain vanilla.