Thursday, January 28, 2010

John Choi

A man my age should probably have a better understanding of death than I do. Still the concept of someone I used to call a friend simply ceasing to exist is hard for me to wrap my head around.

Yesterday I got a TXT telling me that John Choi (tall John Choi) had succumbed to the cancer I didn’t know he was battling until a few days ago. Those of us who were blessed with a chance to play poker in the heyday of the Diamond Club know how insanely dense it was with larger than life characters. To stick out among that crowd was not an easy task by any means. But to be memorable for the right reasons, to stick out through the strength of your humor and the infectious nature of your smile, as was always the case with John, that was an honestly admirable accomplishment.

“Full of life” is one of the more abused clich├ęs used to describe people in times like this. Nonetheless it is actually an apt description of how John will be remembered. The idea that he no longer exists does not make a lot of sense to me. When I got the TXT I didn’t know how to process the information. I didn’t know what to do. After the tears, Christi and I decided to go to the beach. It was early evening and the sun was setting soon. You can experience some incredible sunrises on the east coast beaches of Florida. However, looking out over the water, facing east, there’s not actually a setting sun to watch. But still Christi and I sat there in the sand at sundown. We sat there as the air got colder and the light faded. We sat there facing east and with no sun to watch it didn’t make a lot of sense. It still doesn’t.

John Choi

Wake: Thursday, Jan. 28, 8:00 p.m.

Funeral: Friday, Jan. 29, 10:00 a.m.

Central Funeral Home

809 Broad Ave.
Ridgefield, NJ



Joel said...


You brought me to tears. John was one of the most wonderful selfless people I have ever known. Even my daughter knew of him and was upset at his passing.


P.S. On a personal note, I am so glad to see that once again you have made an entry to your blog. Am I the only one reading it? If so, then nobody realizes what they are missing.

And damn you. You are the only reason that I have a blog, and now I am the one who is constantly tortured, looking for something about which to write.

Can we get touch? I am still in the DR but I would love to call you and speak with you.

Dan said...

I have one memory of John that stands out above all the rest. I have tried to relate this moment to others in my life, but the humor doesn't translate to people who haven't played poker and/or haven't lived in NYC.

It was in the Diamond Club and John walked up to me and a friend holding a mostly empty rack with a few blue ($1) chips scattered in it and loudly proclaimed..."Ladies and Gentlemen, I am a busted out 4/8 player. Given me another chance I will be a better man, I will fold AJ under the gun and pocket 4s in mid-position..."

Dan Chevrie