A heartfelt tribute to Professor Bill Dakan

Mar 23, 2006 at 8:40 pm

I come not to bury Bill Dakan.
I come not to praise him.
I come merely to share my loss.
Without further ado, then, allow me to offer these closing observations about Dr. Bill Dakan, chairman of the Department of Geography at the University of Louisville, world-class scholar and knower of the Earth and the consequences of geography. (Bill actually once predicted to me that New Orleans would be deluged. Prophet.)
Here are the top 10 reasons the Rapper will miss Bill:
(Drum roll, please.)
No. 10: He was one smart aleck punk. I told him this daily.
No. 9: He, with a sparkle in his eye, would out-argue this fellow ex-intercollegiate debater in nine out of 10 verbal smack-downs on issues ranging from North Korea’s madness to the price of AIDS in Africa. Nine out of 10.
No. 8: He consistently let me know when I won my one of 10 when he attacked me with vicious ad hominem remarks, such as, “Carl, you’re an admitted self-described ‘metrosexual’ … what the (expletive deleted) do you know about women ...?”
No. 7: Bill’s self-effacement, any whiff or hint of false modesty, if existent in any quarter-bag quantity, was never disclosed, probably even considered.
No. 6: Bill loved and cared for his infirm wife since college till his very end. God love ya, Bill.
No. 5: Although we debated about whether God exists or existed and what form He/She might take, Bill admitted while in line for Heine Brothers coffee that, yes, he was (whisper) a believer. But he never told me in what or in whom ... he did not need to. (Bill was theologically trained.)
No. 4: Bill used to lecture me about the health hazards of smoking, that smoking was a killer. (The irony is inescapable. Sad Bill started his doctor-encouraged exercise regimen too late to save his own life.)
No. 3: His humor sometimes could lift the horror of my fetal-position depressions better than massive quantities of mood stabilizers, knock-out drugs and Lowenbrau beer. (Thanks, Bill. Never told you ’bout all that.)
No. 2: He was just one of those people — if you were lucky enough to know him, you knew you were better off for it. You always walked away from him feeling a bit wiser — even if only because he let you.
No. 1: He was like the big brother this Rapper never had. Goodbye, bro. Debate God Himself now, big brother. See how YOU like going nine to one, with you on the short end, short stuff.
So, see ya on the other side, Professor Bill Dakan.
I will always love you. And always is as long as eternity.
Drum roll — and more tears — to follow.
But anyway, I’m Carl Brown, Louisville’s Plain Brown Rapper, and that’s just my own damn opinion. If you don’t like it, sue me. Just laugh, Louisville, more than cry about the loss of a great man, a legend in his own time.

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