Maybe it’s because I’ve been planning a trip to Ottawa, or maybe it’s because of everything that’s happened in the last year or so, but lately I’ve found my mind wandering back to my life out east, and to a guy I once knew there named Henry Hum.
Henry was a software developer who primarily worked on a piece of software called SAMI — it was the final software in the assembly line that would ultimately give a PASS/FAIL to every single fiber optic component that probably now powers the majority of internet today. Back in those days, we were shipping 10,000 or more components a week, representing tens of millions of dollars, mostly thanks to Napster and the rampant porn industry I would imagine.
In 2001, I decided I would go with my friend Rob Sample to Cuba for a week, and Henry was nice enough to be my guarantuer on my very first passport application. Despite all of us dealing out a massive amount of shit to that guy in the two years I was there, he was always friendly, always laughing, and always eager to help when others weren’t.
Prior to leaving Ottawa, I attended a small house-warming party for Henry at his house out in Barhaven. It was a house he had saved a few years to buy, and to celebrate the event, he invited his niece and nephew, his sister, and a few of us guys from work.
A few years ago, I received a sad message by email – our friend, Henry Hum, who had recently turned 30 years old, had suddenly collapsed while playing basketball, and the doctors were unable to save him. Had Henry survived, he would be around 34 years old, and happily playing with his niece and nephew in his not-so-new home anymore.
I have lost a few friends and family over the years. Henry Hum, who died suddenly in Ottawa. My friend Carey Tolmie, who was hit by a semi while riding on his motorbike in Chiliwack. My cousin Darren, who, at a young age, died of heart failure shortly after an evening drive with his girlfriend.
Wherever you guys are, I hope the sun is always setting, the music is always playing, and that river of beer is always flowing.