passed tense.

Just after I outed myself to my friends earlier this year, I heard from a couple of you about how odd it can be to read what someone else writes about his life. While there are a lot of entertaining blogs out there, you also tend to feel a little voyeuristic, and depending on the content, even a little creepy.

I’m not sure that’s quite the feeling I got from reading Greg Mergen’s blog last night. Greg was a fixture in Athens when I returned to school, and I got to know him just well enough to stop and chat when we walked past each other on Court Street. Greg was heavily involved in campus politics, to the point where he actually ran for Athens City Council a couple of times (losses both, but pretty close). I remember him as being a smart and pretty funny guy, and his blog reflects the same. There’s the day-to-day tedium: Exchanging his broken iPod for a new one, bitching about riding his bike to work in the heat. There’s the political rants, a natural for Greg. Lots of computer-related stuff, because he really knows what he is doing, to the point where he did support work for several offices, on both Mac and Windows platforms. Applying for jobs. Almost getting run over by a pissed-off Metro bus driver. Funny shit about pets, relationships and Coke Zero, which he was surprised to find that he liked.

Nothing weird there. Except for the fact that I found Greg’s blog about a week after someone found him dead in his apartment in D.C.

I still don’t know what happened. I know what conclusion I reached about the death of an apparently healthy 35-year-old, but it after reading Greg’s blog, it seems less likely to me that he committed suicide. He seemed happy with what he was doing at the moment and excited about some new opportunities on the horizon. Suicide rarely makes sense, but in this case it seems even more unlikely than usual.

Of course, Greg’s blog just stops, after a July 27th entry about how freakin’ hot it was in D.C. on that day. If you don’t read the comments, you obviously don’t get the sense that anything has happened. (If you do check the comments for the last entry, you see a message from Greg’s younger brother asking a few friends to get in touch with him as quickly as possible, and then you see the reactions as people who really knew him.)

Blogs are funny things. Someone who stumbles across Uncle Crappy is going to get a decent idea of what I’m about. But the picture is definitely incomplete. That’s what I found myself wondering while reading Greg’s blog last night: What’s missing? What isn’t he saying? Is there anything hidden in the posts that would indicate what happened? It’s a hard thing to know, because while I didn’t know Greg well, the Greg Mergen in the blog is the same Greg Mergen I remember from Athens years ago.

Hm. I’m left with lots of questions. And there probably aren’t many answers out there.

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7 thoughts on “passed tense.”

  1. Do you have any more information on Greg? I just learned of his death.

    I did not know him well, but he was one of the few people (and gay), who I enjoyed talking to at law school.

    Did you by chance capture his blog? I would like to read the entries you are referring to.

    (202) 682-7094

    Thanks for your assistance.

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  2. David: I never did hear what happened with Greg, and I didn’t feel like I knew him well enough to contact his family about his death. I guess my assumptions haven’t changed, even though suicide makes even less sense than usual in Greg’s case. And unfortunately, I didn’t do anything to record what was left of Greg’s blog, and it appears that even cached pages are long gone from Google. I have a little time to poke around later tonight — if I come across anything, I’ll let you know.

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  3. I was in orchestra with Greg from junior high through high school. I was living in Chicago when my Mother sent me Greg’s obit. I could never find out what happened either.

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  4. I just found out about Greg’s passing and your blog came up first in my search to find out what happened. Greg and I went to school together, were practically inseparable through most of high school and even went to prom together… He dyed his hair pink for the occasion :-) I am in such shock. Greg was the most fabulously intelligent and arrogant man I have ever known (even though we were only kids). I just can’t believe it… Sometime toward the end of college, Greg stopped writing to me. I moved to NYC after college and have very few connections left in our hometown, so I’m not surprised that it took me so long to find out (saw it on our high school reunion page this morning). Damn.

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  5. I also knew Greg Mergen from high school, (from a distance) and really couldn’t help liking the guy. As with Denise, I also read about this on the reunion page. Does anyone one know what happened? What a loss.

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  6. I still don’t know what happened, but the fact that Greg’s friends are still commenting on this post — almost three years after the fact — is a pretty solid demonstration of how important he was to a lot of people.

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  7. I lived with Greg Mergen for almost a year back in ’94. He was a roommate only, not a friend. He made sure of that. If you can still access his blog, I’m the one he called “Flarge”. He wrote of playing mind games with me and cheating me out of my money, and he told lies about me, accusing me of abusing and abandoning my cats (which became his cats) when I am very active in the rescue community and would never do such a thing. His blog hurt me tremendously. I read it after hearing that he had passed away.
    I never heard what killed him. I doubt it was suicide. His partner, Adam, at the time I knew them, told me that they prefer to befriend only those persons who are worthy of befriending…. and I was not worthy. So you can imagine that I do not carry any good memories of the boyz. Maybe he was just being adversely affected by Adam and was really a good person. I hope so. But his blog says otherwise.

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