The above is a screenshot from the documentary Helvetica. In the foreground is Mike Parker, about to enjoy an invisible oyster po’boy, and the mess of hair on the right is me in the background.
I wasn’t originally going to say anything regarding Mike’s passing. I prefer to mourn privately with those closest to me. But in doing just that, we discussed how much Mike loved to tell stories. So I think it is fitting that on this occasion, he would want people to tell stories about him.
The last time I saw Mike was at TypeCon in Milwaukee. He and I were having a conversation with Indra. I paraphrased one of Mike’s stories back to him. It was about the time he was on a plane, and sat next to a linguist. Mike had lived in the US for a long time, but still had, to my ears, a very British accent. The linguist identified him as actually being from New York, because he “helped people finish their sentences.” I told Mike I liked that story because I, too, interrupt people constantly to finish their sentences for them, and I realized it was because I was raised by New Yorkers.
The fact that I had just told Mike his own story made him incredibly happy. He beamed so big and hugged me and I think he hugged Indra too, for the heck of it.
So now I have told it again. I’m sure he’d be happy.