Given the choice between a good man and a saint, I’ll take the good man any day of the week, and I’m sorry to tell you we lost a very good man this week. He used to comment here as Heedy Mortal, an anagram of his name that fooled me so well, it took a full year before I realised he was somebody I knew in the real world.
He was no saint, our Heedy Mortal, but he was all the better for that. He was a man of decency, of dark irreverence and of immense dignity disguised by a filthy sense of humour and a self-deprecating wit found only among those who know exactly who they are, and who feel comfortable in their own skin.
I can’t remember ever being in the company of Heedy Mortal without laughing myself sick. I can’t ever remember telling him a problem without receiving kind and thoughtful advice. I never heard him tell a story where he was the winner — the mark of a true champion.
He had many faults, I’m quite sure, because he was no saint. But who wants saints when you can have a good man like Heedy Mortal? A very good man indeed.
As his flight across the stratosphere began to descend towards earth, I visited him now and then in Milford Hospice and I have to tell you honestly that I never left the place without my face being soaked in tears, but in case you get the wrong impression, they weren’t tears of sorrow.
It was just that, as always, our beloved Heedy Mortal had me bent double laughing even while he counted down his days. That was the measure of the man I’m proud to call a friend.
He’s gone from us now, but he isn’t gone from our hearts, and he won’t be gone as long as any of us live to remember him.
A fine man. A good man. And best of all, no saint.
Goodbye, Heedy Mortal