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    March 31, 2018

    Certain Things In My Life Are Now Declassified…

    Sorry for the long delay in writing…

    My life has entered a new chapter; my father died on February 20th.

    My Dad with Me.

    Things are certainly different, and for the next six months at least, I will be handling his vast empire; which means my diving weekends are shot.

    Tony Soprano?
    People often mistook my Dad for Tony Soprano.

    About five years ago, he was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) – the same disease that killed Lou Gehrig, Mao Zedong, David Niven and more recently Stephen Hawking.

    The cause is not known, but I personally think it was from him falling off a ladder several years ago or some asshole who sneezed in his face at an airport.

    It is my educated guess, and the reasoning is out of the scope of this post.

    With ALS, the person’s body slowly shuts down, eventually losing all mobility of the body.

    The victim is nothing but a fully functioning mind and a set of blinking eyes.

    There is also some very tragic psychological issues that go along with suffering the loss of all bodily movement.

    The doctors told him that he could get a feeding tube and breathing respirator and stay alive practically indefinitely, like Stephen Hawking did.

    But who the fuck wants to live like that?

    They gave him three years to live.

    His one dying wish, that I could accomplish, was to go to the grand opening of the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum, in Winterset, Iowa in May of 2015.

    Yes, he was a life-long John Wayne fan – except for the Duke’s stance on the Vietnam war.

    He often complained to me that I didn’t give him any grandchildren.

    I told him, “It’s hard for me to even get a date, but John Wayne had kids into his 50’s, so I still have hope.”

    “Yeah, but the problem is, you’re not John Wayne,” he said.

    Group Photo
    My sister Kate (Secret Agent K), my father and me at the John Wayne Museum – 2015.

    Here’s the posts of our trip, if you missed it:

    Classified Mission To Monument Valley

    Classified Mission To Iowa – Part 1

    Classified Mission To Iowa – Part 2

    Winterset Rodeo And The Opening Of The John Wayne Museum

    The End Of My Trip And Other Odds And Ends

    Since the trip, he continued to slowly decline.

    He got harder and harder to understand when he would speak, but he never bothered to learn to use his Tobii, which would have given him a computerized voice.

    He stopped driving two years ago.

    About eight months ago, he started to need help getting up out of bed and up out of his chair.

    Late last year, he could barely eat and needed assistance in other daily functions.

    In January, we hired a part-time care giver.

    He did have a CPAP, that helped him breathe when he slept.

    He told me, “The only time I’m happy is when I’m sleeping.”

    I was lucky enough to have said a lot of things to him that I would not normally have said to him if he would have died unexpectedly.

    His mind was all there, and was still able to text me as coherent as he ever could communicate with me, or anyone else.

    Five days after his 50th wedding anniversary, we were texting about job prospects in other cities for people who can’t find work in the Los Angeles job market.

    I suggested Reno.

    This is our last correspondence with each other…

    Our last correspondence.

    He slept for 21 hours after he sent that text, which was very unusual.

    He rang his siren to get help to get up and collapsed within the hour.

    The paramedics were called, but he had registered as “Do Not Resuscitate.”

    His last wish was granted.

    Immediately before he died, he was still able to slightly walk and could still talk; or as my Dad put it, “Talk like Frankenstein.”

    He died at home, around his vast empire of stuff that he had acquired over the last 70 years, but without experiencing a lot of the things that I wish he could have.

    And so another chapter of my life ends and a new chapter begins.

    Stay tuned.

    February 26, 2016

    RIP – Southern California Diving Icon Dennis Gunn

    Dennis G.

    I found out today, from Professional Debriefer Paul, that one of our regular diving icons, Dennis Gunn – known on this website as “Dennis G” or “Dr. D” died yesterday.

    Dennis was one of the original divers that I met when I started diving more than a decade ago; he made the dives and debriefs interesting, fun and enjoyable.

    Dennis was first mentioned in my blog in the December 14, 2003 entry:

    “The divers who I met on October 18th of this year were there. They introduced themselves as Dennis, Fred and Al.”

    Over the years, Dennis became a regular in the local Sunday morning and Wednesday evening diving groups and, even though he never was given a unique diving nickname, quickly developed a unique reputation.

    Nobody who had ever dove with Dennis expected to end the dive with Dennis; but everyone made it back alive and well.

    Well, there was an incident that did involve a rescue by the Coast Guard, but he was solo diving at that point.

    He often shared that story so that other divers would not make the same mistake.

    People learned to cut his visibility reports in half.

    It was quite common for someone to report “30 foot visibility,” only for someone to ask, “Is that a real 30 feet, or a Dennis 30 feet?”

    He brought many people to our group of divers and Dennis was one of the reasons that they stayed.

    Listening to Dennis talk about his high finance entrepreneurial ventures, his diving adventures – or misadventures – and the latest injuries he received while playing ice hockey were priceless.

    He had a good judge of character and often gave me advice on new comers to the group.

    Dennis once told me his opinion of a new female diver – “That woman is crazy. She is the type who would instigate sex and then yell rape. Stay away from her.”

    And that I did; his advice could have kept me out of jail.

    Some highlights of dives and debriefs with Dennis:

    April 3, 2011 – Terranea Dive Report

    Dennis and Donna The Hot Biker Chick
    Dennis and Donna The Hot Biker Chick

    January 1, 2012 New Year’s Dive and Debrief – Happy New Year Everyone!

    Dennis underwater
    Dennis underwater.

    December 25, 2012 – Christmas Day SCUBA Dive

    Debriefing with Dennis

    Me, Donna The Hot Biker Chick, Dr. D and TwinDuct
    Me, Donna The Hot Biker Chick, Dr. D and TwinDuct

    September 14, 2014 – Storms Rearrange The Terranea Resort Coast

    Dennis on the rocky shore of Terranea Resort.
    Dennis on the rocky shore of Terranea Resort.

    Dennis on the rocky shore of Terranea Resort.
    Today’s diving group – Randy is kneeling, from the left is Chipper, yours truly, Mike, Eric and Dennis G

    In all the times Dennis attended our famous beer and barbecue fueled post-dive debriefs, he almost never drank beer.

    The one or two times he did drink a beer, were special occasions – I believe he had up to 13 beers.

    And when I say 13 beers, I’m talking about in his entire life; he kept count, and we were all waiting for the next occasion when he could have number 14.

    As a fellow diver remarked, “Dennis loved to SCUBA dive and enjoyed the people he dove with.”

    Another era in local diving has come to an end.

    Dennis will be missed.

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