the LIST

Do I know you? One man's attempt at a lifelong head count. 

NOTE: If you think I might have a photo of you—most likely at least one great photo of you—don't be afraid to ask me to post it (13bob13@gmail.com) along with a brief entry about how I know you. And if I've met or known you but don't have any photo evidence, feel free to send along YOUR favorite photo of you. (I'm fascinated by what that slideshow might look like.)

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51. tom mee

  City of Industry, CA.   Carpet King Mee. 2003

City of Industry, CA. Carpet King Mee. 2003

"Dude, when you gonna put me on the website?" my friend Tom asked the other day when I returned his phone call. Up to this point, I've been posting on here pretty randomly. I'll put someone up if I come across a photo I like. In the case of my niece, Katherine, who turned 11 on 1.11.11, I had to put her in the #11 slot. There are a few other number-specific entries. My friend Brian at #5. Ernie at #13. And I decided to put my friend Edmund up after I came across a news story about his family last month. But for the most part, it's been random. What I'd like to do is put somebody up here after they've requested an appearance. Like Tom. If you'd like to read more about my 35+ year friendship with Tom, check out this entry from my old blog. We've got a LONG and storied history, starting with our days surfing together in high school. Tom was also the guy Sister Tracy fell in love with at the end of her life and the 2 of them were together the night she became paralyzed. The photo I'm posting here is a shot I took of Tom at Bentley Mills, the carpet company he's worked at for 30 years. How do I know he's worked at Bentley for 30 years? Because in the summer of 1984—a few month after I graduated from UCLA—Tom was set to go backpacking across Europe with me. Only he backed out at the last minute. The father of our friend Ogela had just gotten him a job at the company that would later become Bentley. A full 3 decades later and he's still around, practically running the place. The guy is one of the hardest workers I know. But don't think for a minute he doesn't know how to have a good time. The guy is the epitome of "work hard, play hard." Tom has been a source of laughter and a catalyst for good times for a lot of people for a long, long time. He plays so hard he broke his back a few years ago riding his dirt bike in the desert. At night. Be careful out there, dude.