Today I said goodbye. I said goodbye to a friend who I’ve never been to the movies with. A friend I’ve never gone to the park with. Never went cruising around with. We’d never gone to the bar together. Never been to church together. Never met in person. Never had dinner together. Never had any meal together. But we’ve spent easily hundreds of hours “together”. We’ve spent countless hours chatting it up. Countless hours running people over in Grand Theft Auto V. Countless hours shooting ships in Elite: Dangerous. We’d spent countless hours in Skype. Ken was a regular guest of the Podcast / Stream that I’m part of. Many games we’d played together, many hours of deep chat about life, wives, kids, work, and everything else between. I know him well enough to call him friend. And that’s not a title I just typically throw around.
It’s kind of weird when you think about how things have changed over the years. Several years ago, one would probably be considered crazy for saying they had a friend that they’ve never met. I guess even today there’s people that would say that. But the internet does a lot of things, both good and bad. One of the things it does well is bridge the distance between people around the world. I’ve never “met” Ken but I’ve been face to face with him more times than I can count through Skype. It allows you to share memories with somebody that you can talk to regularly like a friend. It allows you to ask advice, or even give advice. You can share stories of your day face to face, all the while being hundreds of miles apart.
I “met” Ken aka “Kouchkiller”, through the internet radio station that I’ve been a part of for 8 years now. He was a DJ with us for a long long time. He also helped “behind the scenes” with not only running the station as part of the operations team, part of the creative team, and even had a outreach program in Star Trek Online for “fleets” which are groups of players that play together. Ken was a good guy. He always knew how to get ya right in between the ribs, but still make you laugh while he was doing it. When he first came aboard, I thought he was just some outspoken redneck. Come to find out he was so much more. He quickly fit right in with the DJ’s and was making a name for himself in no time. His shows consisted of mostly Rock and Metal with some other stuff sprinkled in here and there. One of the things he was able to do was connect with his listeners. He started doing these interviews with the Fleets and just random listeners, and they all loved it. Being a gamer he fit right in, and before you know it, he was helping out behind the scenes. He helped run SubSpace Radio behind the scenes, helping with different things, working with new DJs, and other smaller projects around the station like the Transition music project that he speared up several years in a row. Fast forward a few years, and he’s been a regular on our twitch stream (TwoDudes1P). He’s also been in several of our podcasts. It was a regular thing to be playing GTA V with him while Skyping. Ken would always be flying around in his jet while Scott and I would be driving around in this weaponized armor truck. We’d be dying over and over, and he would be no where to be found, and then finally swoop in and help. I can’t even count the number of hours we drove around on motorcycles in GTA V. And it was particularly funny because while he was really good driving the car, and really good driving the jet, he could NOT drive a motorcycle to save himself! We spent several days trying to work on this one specific mission because we had to be on motor cycles for a get away, and he just kept crashing his bike in the game. It was glorious.
That being said, we’ve had many the serious conversations as well. Ken and I share some of the same hardships and challenges that we’ve been through in life. Some the of the same life experiences. As many times as we’ve sat and played video games, we’ve sat and just talked. Just opened up about the things going on in our lives. Text messages, and even phone calls on some occasions. Ken was strong with his beliefs. He was man of determination. He loved his Georgia Bulldogs. He loved his Bulldog. So much so, that when it came time to get a puppy, he convinced me to get one, even though I had heard things about Bulldogs that were wise tales. He’s given me advice on how to take care of mine, how to keep my puppy healthy. He even pointed me in the direction of a group on Facebook for Bulldog owners that’s also been helpful.
End of the day, there’s going to be a huge chunk of some peoples life gone with his passing. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family. My thoughts and condolences go out to the hundreds of people who Ken has touched. There’s going to be some Ken sized holes in peoples lives. I know there’s going to be a hole in my routine. Rest in peace my friend.