Living the Fifteen


“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”                                                                            —Andy Warhol, 1968

Bruce! 8.8.59 - 9.30.11

And then there are those who transcend Warhol’s cynical prediction, living life with an unbridled zest, passion, and energy.  Remarkable individuals who live each day brilliantly, fearlessly – authentic, genuine people who bring us joy while enriching our lives with their unique voices.

Bruce Florine was one of those people.  In hindsight, it’s incomprehensible that I presumed this new colleague was not my cup of tea.  Who was this New Yorker with his designer eyeglasses, fancy clothes, and Gucci loafers?  Why was I being seated next to him at what would otherwise have been an exquisite dining experience in New York?  I begrudgingly settled in for a perfectly abysmal evening.

But, before I had time to unfold my napkin, it was clear this was going to be an exceptional evening – one filled with laughter, wit, and intelligence.  Not clear at the time, however, was that this dinner would mark the beginning of a significant friendship for my family.  Bruce would become one of my husband’s best friends.  For my daughter he became that really neat-o guy with that cool Maddie dog – Bruce’s beloved Shih Tzu whose full name is Madison Avenue (of course that’s the dog’s full name – he was Bruce’s dog after all!).

And me?  I loved Bruce for Bruce.

He lived fearlessly.  Whether at work or play Bruce was the professional who gave it his all, continually pushing himself and his team to soar higher.  He was the successful sports marketing visionary who sat down one day to draw the Florine spider chart.  The result?  His own business created around his gifts, talents and passions.  No corporate safety net – just Bruce.  That took guts.

He loved fearlessly.  He unabashedly spoke of family, especially his parents, with tremendous love and pride.  He refused to be cowed by his sister’s breast cancer diagnosis, urging her on in her ability and will power to fight.  He gladly climbed out of bed in the middle of the night to meet you for coffee when you thought your world was upside down.  He had an inordinate capacity to love through heartbreak and heartache, all the while keeping his own heart un-shuttered.

He laughed fearlessly.  He knew the power of laughter and its ability to heal and fuel loving hearts.  It wasn’t about being the funniest person in the room (although Bruce usually was!).  Rather, it was about drinking in life, and then reveling in it.

Bruce, you lived each and every moment famously – far beyond the Warhol 15. Your trademark joie de vivre energized the day leaving joy, love, and laughter in your wake.  Without you life is a bit less effervescent – yes, even a little flat.  How to make sense of it all?

While none of us may ever understand why you were taken so suddenly, I do know and have comfort in the fact that the tenor of your voice has left an indelible mark on mine.  A voice that inspires me to live, love and laugh with unbridled joy.  For that my friend, I am eternally grateful.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. faye wetzel
    Oct 16, 2011 @ 10:46:09

    Oh, Linda, I am so sorry you lost such a great friend. How tragic!



  2. suespaightpaight
    Oct 16, 2011 @ 10:48:22

    Wow, Linda. Just wow. What a beautiful tribute to your dear friend. Thank you for sharing it – for sharing HIM – with the rest of us. Big hugs. -Sue



  3. Deborah
    Oct 16, 2011 @ 11:06:11

    He was a lucky man indeed, to have you as a friend. It is memories and love like yours Linda, that immortalize. What a lovely tribute.



  4. Kay
    Oct 16, 2011 @ 18:19:10

    Linda- What a wonderful tribute. I am very sorry for your loss.
    Your description of the way Bruce lived is inspirational!



  5. Alyssa
    Oct 16, 2011 @ 19:27:32

    What a great post, Linda. It’s still so hard to believe he’s not with us anymore. Your posting is a great reminder of all the things we loved about him and cannot ever forget.



  6. Ben Olson
    Oct 16, 2011 @ 19:38:21

    Beautifully put Linda!



  7. Debbie Phillips
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 21:01:17

    What an inspiring tribute, Linda. I’m in tears. Cheers to a beautiful man! And, thank you for staying in the room on 9.30.11. You couldn’t have been surrounded by more loving angels:-)



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