I apologize for not noting this earlier, but the one and only Greg Beck died last week. I knew Greg through his astonishing blog, and had the pleasure of meeting him in person a few times as well. Like the rest of the KC blogging world, I’m stunned and shocked.
There’s very little to be said about Greg that he didn’t say already. His blogging represented the peak of the form; it was personal, raunchy, opinionated and, without fail, interesting. His years as a bouncer in the nightclubs of Kansas City gave him a wealth of material to work with, and he retold those stories in a voice that was unmistakably his own.
Some bloggers turn to online writing to find a new identity, or to exercise their extroverted side in a private setting. Even though he worked for “The Man” in various parts of the federal bureaucracy, no one would mistake him for the quiet sort. The first time I met Greg was at a gathering of the local blogosphere hosted by the Kansas City Pitch. He commented that the two of us were the only ones who looked like our blog’s name. For me, that meant looking like a grad student. Looking like “Death’s Door” is a bigger challenge.
Reading his stories of strippers, barfights, con artists, and rock stars was captured the scenes few of us will ever experience, and Greg’s writing had the intensity and economy of words that made you feel like you were there with him. He certainly packed a lot into his 48 years.
For whatever reason, the series of posts I remember most vividly are his accounts of his first visit to the ocean a few years back, and the wary excitement , especially his first encounter with a hermit crab.
I bend over and pick up the shell and pull it out of the water and when I bring it up to eye level for a closer look-see I start screaming like a slapped bitch cause suddenly my innocent shell starts sprouting all kinds of arms and fingers and shit. Why I gotta pick up the fuckin shell with shit still living in it? Dammit, I bounced in clubs for years and been in thousands of fights and ain’t too many things on two feet I’ll back away from, but seeing a seashell start waving at me just fucked me up.
It was somewhat shocking to realize that a man of such diverse experiences, a worldly man in any sense of that phrase, still had so much of life to live.
There will never be another Greg Beck, and the world is poorer for his absence.
There will be visitation Monday night from 6–8 at E. S. Eley & Sons Funeral Chapel, 4707 E. Truman Road, KCMO, and a funeral on Tuesday at 11 am. It will be at Palestine Missionary Baptist Church of Jesus Christ, 3619 E. 35th Street, KCMO. Ladies, please remember his stated wishes: “I want every chick at my funeral rocking the red dress. That’s right, a low-cut red dress with those come fuck me at midnight heels. Well, except for my mother cause I doubt she’ll be having any of that shit.” Michelle tells us “his family is looking forward to them [the red dresses].”
I regret that I won’t be able to be there, but my thoughts are with Greg and his family. He touched a lot of lives.
“and the monkey flipped the switch”