It isn’t often that I right about something personal.  You may choose not to read this…and that’s okay.

So much, we describe those that die young as a “spirit” and for some reason that seems to be the case.  Bryan “Flame” McCarthy was my housemate, friend, ski team and drinking buddy from college.  You could never find a time when he didn’t have a smile on his face…always up for a good time and bringing the party wherever he went. Bryan truly was a spirit and burned bright while he lived. A Flame!

The first rule of having a nickname is you can’t give it to yourself…the second is you usually hate it at first (e.g. Lewdog).  I can’t imagine Flame gave himself that nickname (he had very red hair and his little brother was called Spark) but it fit perfectly.  Wherever he went, there it was…the glow of someone that has a passion for life.

Flame and I kept in-touch after college.  When Lori and I lived in the East, we would ski with him at his family’s house at Okemo Mountain in Vermont.  There were also more than a few road trips to that place while in school.  Not only was he a good skier, he was great at “tray racer”…where you take meal trays from the mountain’s cafeteria, sit on them, and go racing at night down ski hills…usually after a liquid dinner and maybe a puff or ten.  Dangerous as hell (we don’t even ski without helmets anymore) but some of the best memories!

So memories are all we have when someone goes too early.  Flame and I didn’t speak much over the past year, which makes me feel guilty.  He was having issues with alcohol and in a very depressed state.  His heart just gave out. I didn’t know…too caught-up in my own dramas to even think to pickup the phone and call.  And now ironically, we are all connecting through Flame’s death.  Friends from college…some I haven’t spoken with in 20-years.

Death is unfortunately a connector.  It reminds us that we don’t need to wait for something tragic to say hi to friends and family. So do it while you can.

If you are having problems yourself, tell someone.  Don’t Flameout!

Throwing a beer to Bob Weir on the '88 Dead tour rafting trip.

Throwing a beer to Bob Weir on the ’88 Dead tour rafting trip.


Watching the Spink's Tyson fight at the harness track.

Flame with Weir in the winner’s circle watching the Spinks’ Tyson fight at the harness track.





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