It feels in some ways as though I haven't earned this. ---
Others were closer than I was to Jeff Michael Vice--the former Deseret News film critic and stalwart of X96's Radio from Hell and the City Weekly Best of Utah-winning Geek Show Podcast--who passed away Monday after a massive asthma attack that resulted in heart failure. They spent days laughing with him and nights drinking with him, or sometimes vice-versa, or often both at the same time. They were family members by blood and family members by choice.
I knew Jeff almost exclusively as a professional colleague, a familiar face at Salt Lake area press screenings for virtually all of the 17 years I've lived and worked here. We chatted and argued for many hours over those years about the recent movies we'd seen, or comics, or Simpsons quotes; we debated the things we loved at annual Utah Film Critics Association meetings. He was a good fellow with a ready laugh.
And it's hard not to feel the creeping guilt that my reaction has something to do with the fact that we were almost exactly the same age, Gen X cohorts who shouldn't be facing our mortality yet. It's not right. It's not fair. Maybe it could have been me.
I worry, and struggle with what feels appropriate, and what feels self-indulgent. So the best I can do is this: I know there are those who will feel Jeff Vice's absence in their lives more profoundly, and more regularly, than I will. But he was a decent and kind person I felt blessed to know, and our lives often have too few decent and kind people in them. His enthusiasm for the world of pop culture was infectious, and many other people were touched by that joy because Jeff was able to turn it into his livelihood. And I'm going to miss the hell out of him.
Jeff's Geek Show Podcast colleagues shared information today on their Facebook page about how to help defray the cost of Jeff's passing for his family. Please visit.