This Charming Man

I apologize in advance for misremembering any facts/dates, leaving anyone out or for this post not being very well written.

 

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I met Kevin on my very first day of work at Ogilvy Public Relations 12 years ago. We started the same day and were sitting next to one another in the HR director’s office. We learned that not only did we go to NYU around the same time (Kevin graduated one year after me) but lived in the same dorm for two years and had a few mutual friends. Our paths probably crossed several times at NYU but we did not meet until that day. Through our many conversations between whining about Vioxx media monitoring, we learned that we shared many interests like Arrested Development, Scrubs and the genius of Will Ferrell. You know those annoying people who constantly quote movies and television shows to one another? That was us. He was JD to my Turk.

I was resigned to just going to work and then going home. You’d be surprised to find out that I’m generally very introverted. At least, I was until Kevin. He kept inviting me out no matter how many times I refused to head back to Long Island or go to see my girlfriend at the time in the city. When my girlfriend and I broke up, I finally succumbed to Kevin’s invitations and my life was changed forever. I don’t think I have ever known a person like Kevin Silverman. He had hanging out down to a science. I didn’t really know New York City until I started hanging out with him. Kevin showed me great places to eat and drink. It always seemed like Kevin’s mission in life was to make sure everyone was having a good time.

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Kevin wanted Ogilvy PR to be a fun place and I followed his lead. We called ourselves Silverman Soup (I wish I could find the logo we made) and started after work movie nights which was just an excuse to order buffalo wings and watch movies that we liked on the projection screen. We figured that we were staying late at work anyway. We would try and organize happy hours whenever possible. Kevin helped turned OPR into a social family. Honestly, there were days and weeks that I hated working there for various reasons but I never hated going to work because I knew my friends were there.

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Later Nikki and Tony joined Ogilvy PR and we became inseparable. All it took was one ski trip where we mostly drank and ruined Wedding Crashers for Nikki by constantly quoting the best parts. Inspired by an episode of Scrubs, we decided to become the greatest air band ever (Not that we would ever practice or perform). Mercy Flush was born and here to torture anyone within earshot of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” No matter where we were or what we were doing, if that song came on, we ran to the center of the room and sang at the top of our lungs with our arms around each other. Yes, it was annoying to everyone else. No, we didn’t care.

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On my first day back from a trip to Los Angeles, Kevin informed me that he signed us up for ZogSports touch football. None of us were particularly athletic but if he thought it would be fun, I was down. We were still in the height of our Wedding Crashers obsession so after much debate, we named our team Rule 76 (“No excuses, play like a champion”). I thought this would just be a fun excuse to hang out on the weekend. Little did I know that over the years it would be the source of almost half of my adult friendships. Every season we would keep signing up for more sports and teams. Even when Kevin went to Australia for a year, I tried to keep the teams going. We even added a “KS” to our shirts to honor our founder. Kevin would invite one new person, they would invite others and so on and so forth. Couples were formed, social circles merged, lasting friendships created, all because Kevin said “Hey, I signed us up for touch football.”

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When Kevin came back from Australia with Jen Johnson, I knew he had found the one for him. It only took five minutes to talking to her and I thought, “Yup, that’s why.” Jennifer’s bright spirit and infectious joy was a perfect match for Kevin.

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The last time I saw Kevin was my wedding day in California. I couldn’t make it to his wedding in Florida because I was unemployed at the time and was trying to pay for my own wedding. I tried to Skype in but wasn’t that successful. During the Dollar Dance, I gave Kevin a huge embrace. It meant the world to me that he was there and made me happy to think how far we had come together in our lives.

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Kevin was many things. He was one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met. If there was conflict, Kevin would try to mediate. If someone wasn’t having a good time, Kevin would check on them. A frequent reply from Kevin in our many invites was “Did we include…?”

Kevin was the sun all of our friendships revolved around. He kept us in orbit and warmed us with his compassion and love. When I found out Tuesday morning that Kevin passed away suddenly, I was in shock. After 30 minutes, I broke down and cried on my bed. The world already feels darker and colder without him.

I wish I had gotten to see him the last time I came to New York but we kept missing each other. I wish he had gotten to meet Xavi. I wish I could have gotten in one last karaoke night. I will try to take solace in all the great times, all the photos, all the friends I can thank him for.

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I will miss you, Vanilla Bear.

P.S. Mercy Flush Rules

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14 thoughts on “This Charming Man

  1. So sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend. Sounds like he was such an amazing guy who left you with so many positive memories. Wonderful tribute Cuz.

  2. So very well said. These were defining years in all our lives – I will always smile anytime I think of that ski trip. In many ways, Kevin was more than a friend, he was a guide for us and our misadventures.

    Love you and what you’ve written is beautiful, few could have said it any better. And of course, Mercy Flush rules!

  3. Thank you so much for this. I met Kevin in Australia as a friend of my daughter Nicky. Our highlight was spending a night at the Sunburnt Calf in NYC with Kevin, Jen and Kevin’s parents myself Barbara and Nicky.

    He was a funny guy, up for fun and very generous with his friendship.

    Brenton

  4. Thanks for writing this Sean. I really couldn’t believe the news when I found out either. I didn’t know Kevin that well but from what I recall he was a genuinely gentle and compassionate person. When I told him I was leaving healthcare to get into social media he immediately offered me any support or advice that he could, since he was familiar with the space. I couldn’t believe someone I barely knew would be so generous. The world has truly lost one of the good ones with his passing.

  5. This is a wonderful post, Sean. From the heart. I still can’t believe it… I’ll never forget his infectious laugh…

  6. Sean, I am still in shock. Your post is incredibly beautiful. Somehow, you were able to articulate the things that I am having trouble forming for myself. Thank you for your honesty and so many stories that made me laugh. The world is indeed a colder place without Kevin in it.

  7. Sean, beautifully written. What a wonderful tribute to such an amazing friend of yours and a lovely human being. My heart aches for you and your close-knit group. I have enjoyed (and hopefully will continue to be able to enjoy) living vicariously through your facebook posts, Kevin’s and those of the other fun folks from the days at Ogilvy.

  8. Kevin is part of my fondest memories of my short stint at Ogilvy. He was (and all of you guys were) hilarious, friendly and let me play on your kickball team as Dotty. The world is indeed a little dimmer without a person like Kevin, who made a big impact in even the briefest moment. My deepest and sincere sympathy.

  9. i didn’t KNOW Kevin, but I recall meeting him at the wedding. he sounds like an AWESOME guy who left a lasting impression on you all. that’s the way friendships should be.

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