“An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You would never see an ‘Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order’ sign, just “Escalator Temporarily Stairs, Sorry for the convenience.’” – Mitch Hedberg
I like to think of life as an escalator. It’s an uphill climb, but most of it just happens whether we like it or not. If you stand still, life just moves you along. As an early aside, I really hate when people just stand on the escalator – I like to ascend or descend doubly fast and they are just in my way. So, if you stand there, life will usually just move you along, but every so often life throws a wrench in those gears, turns that escalator into stairs, and stops you dead in your tracks. It’s at these times that we always seem to lose our legs; maybe you’re like me, cruising up that escalator at double time, but when the escalator turns into stairs, you’re suddenly unable to move at all.
I felt that way when I started getting the emails and texts from Kate and the guys. I’ve lived this spoiled life of invincibility, and this one hit home. Even in our mid (ugh, late) twenties, we are susceptible to life. Finding out Jimi was unwell is a moment that will probably live in infamy in my memory; as I was reading emails from Kate and the Huff, I was receiving a call from Sull. Unfortunately, I was finishing the email from the Huff as Sull’s call came in and I was unable to answer, everything had begun to stop. My legs ceased working, and my escalator was wrenched. A family member had been knocked down.
We really had forged a little family in the last 5-6 years, and it was actually Jimi that pulled me in. Through Jimi, I met the Huff, and AJ and Andrea (and Rocco). After many family dinners (and drinks), “band practices,” minor hardships, major accomplishments, and years of living together or nearby in the Newton, Brighton, and Brookline areas, we have come to rely on each other in a variety of ways.
Jimi has one of the strongest presences I’ve ever encountered. He’ll often come by to hang out, but refuses to sit, even when it’s just the two of you. It’s hard to not know he’s there. Yes, this is as awkward as it sounds. He prefers the outside: where his flag can wave, his projects (like “Stevette”) can be wrenched, and his “Baby-Q” can be aflame.
He is loyal, stern, and protective. One time we stood in line at a bar and a passenger in a car passing by waved a black gun out the window. The bouncers looked on in awe, and Jimi sprang into action. In one continuous motion, he approached the car and knocked the gun to the ground. Slightly rash, perhaps, but decisive, and no one else was going to do a thing. Now, the gun turned out to be fake, but nobody knew at the time, and it’s the sentiment of stories like this that define James Quigley as a man.
The last few weeks have been a lot to digest for all of us. But that’s the good thing about family; when one is down, we’re all down until the one is back up. When the escalator stops, you help move each other’s legs, rip down the “out of order” sign, and replace it with the “Escalator Temporarily Stairs” sign…and then thank the stairs for their convenience. Eventually time starts the escalator up again, allowing you to stand still and have life move you along, if you so please. But, I’m begging you all to please walk while the escalator moves – or at least stand to the side so I can get by…and so Jimi can, because I know he isn’t stopping.
Jimbo, we’ve all got your back. It’s what friends do, it’s what brothers do. And to everyone else, please support the fund in any way that you can. You can donate to the James Quigley Fund here.