In memoriam: Keith Alexander

One of the wonderful things about editing a website devoted to wonderful things is who you meet along the way. The odd kinships that evolve with people on the other side of the internet. They're more than readers, or an audience. Those words don't fit. There's a sort of shared curiosity that links us together. This is what makes Boing Boing really mean something to me.

I met Keith Alexander online a couple of years ago when he emailed to say that he was an avid Boing Boing reader, and suggested different things we might find interesting for the blog. An online friendship evolved, we learned of overlap points in our circles of real-world friends. We exchanged emails and IMs over time. He was a longtime body modification enthusiast, and we shared other eclectic things of interest. I needed advice from a tattoo expert once, so I pinged him -- he was incredibly generous and knowledgeable, and helped me find what I needed with the kind of selflessness that just makes you feel good about the world.

Once, he was preparing to get a large Japanese koi tattoo on his back, and he promised to blog photographs throughout the process. I asked if I could share them with Boing Boing. He said, sure, and he was right -- the ink was beautiful. But even more so was the childlike fascination with which he explored that small wonder of the world. It's the same sense of fascination that brings me back to the laptop and to Boing Boing each morning.

Today, Shannon Laratt has just posted news that Keith passed away after a bike accident in New York City yesterday.

I never met Keith Alexander face to face. We never even spoke on the phone. But I knew that he was a kind, giving human being who experienced the world fully, with great curiosity and delight.

All best wishes to you, Keith. All best wishes to your family and loved ones. We will remember you here.

Reader comment: julien says,

Here is a interview from 2000 between shannon larratt and keith alexander with archived BME/radio. i've been listening to this interview for a while. mostly relates to piercing and some personal stuff.

Jamie says,

This poigniant post is one of Keith's last blog entries. At least he was doing what he loved and made him feel alive. Link.
Tiffany says,
This blogger has posted about Keith's accident and points to a message board where a cyclist who came upon the aftermath has made some comments - Link.
Dan Stein says,
Hi, Xeni - I've been a longtime BoingBoing reader, and I was shocked and saddened to read your post earlier today about Keith Alexander's death.

I met Keith no more than two weeks ago - I was riding on the bike path near Shore Road where Keith was killed. He passed me or I passed him, and we ended up riding along together for a few miles and chatting about cycling, the upcoming Tour De France and Lance Armstrong's chances, and a few other things. He seemed like a really nice guy, and reading more about him online, I see that we had a lot more in common besides cycling. I feel a real sense of loss that I came so close to getting to know someone who I think I would have enjoyed having as a friend.

Ironically, one of the things Keith and I talked about was the dangers of pedestrians and other cyclists on the path, and I remember specifically saying how the thing that scares me the most is little kids darting about unpredictably. I also remember thinking that he should be wearing a helmet, which he wasn't. I'm a big believer in not telling people how to live their lives uninvited, but boy do I wish I had said something to him about it - if you're on a bicycle, you should have a helmet on your head. Period, no exceptions!

I'm very sorry for your loss (and mine.)