In Memoriam: Andrew Martinez

Andrew at Yosemite

I got a call today around 2pm from a friend telling me that Andrew had died. Well, friend said: “The naked guy has died.” And I knew he meant, well, Andrew Martinez, a friend from high school who made it his mission in college to be naked. In what I assume would be his thinking, it was a way of protesting social norms that he thought were ridiculous.

I’m not making fun of what he thought, and I’m not saying I believe in it- I’m just saying that I could see him making a quasi-humorous and yet serious argument about just about anything. He was ironic and self-mocking, but also passionate about things that I usually didn’t care about (nudity, drug legalization, etc.). At the time Andrew was protesting this, I was at a college that commonly had naked people walking about and nobody freaked out. Oh well, one of the myriad of problems with the yuppification with Berkeley. But I’m not writing about that.

I was really saddened to hear that he died, as I was saddened to get updates on his condition from his friend, who was quoted here in this sfgate article (same as above). According to his friend, Andrew had a downward psychotic spiral due to some drug use during his fame-years had late onset paranoid schizophrenia.

I get sad when I think of people my age dying. Nothing deep, just that I see them as losing out on more opportunities to have fun memories, as I hope to live my life as having more opportunities to have fun memories.

So here, for posterity, is a collection of happy memories involving Andrew.

In 8th grade, I dropped my pencil, and this really hot new guy picked it up for me and smiled at me. It was the most twinkly eyed smile that I had ever seen, in real life, and there a crush was born.

He asked me to Gemco, and I went along, and we held hands in the parking lot. Now, for 14 year olds there is just not a lot to do in a small town- though Cupertino is, I still maintain, the mecca of the West. So walking to a service-merchandise like store a whole mile from school was a big deal. Not a week or so later, though, at a party watching Purple Rain, I realized that his affections had moved on, when I found him kissing one of my friends. To give them credit, though, it wasn’t a huge shock since she had warned me earlier that day:

conversation at locker:
me: hey amy
amy: hey, andrew and I are going out
me: oh

That was the end of the affair.

Wait, it was really like this.
me: (trying on a new smile) hey amy
amy: what’s wrong with your face?
me: nothing.
amy: well Andrew and I are going out
me: oh (face still frozen in new smile)

Then, later on a friend of mine (guy, who also had a crush on Andrew) told me that Andrew carved Amy’s name all over the Yosemite lodge and inferred that she went “farther” than I did. Farther than holding hands? My mind still boggles at the possibiliities.

I’m not sure if it’s later, but it’s definitely after Purple Rain, but I managed to dance with him at an upcoming dance to Wham’s “Careless Whisper.” I knew even at the time that it was not a romantic thing for him, but it was hugely romantic for me. Our dancing style consisted of jumping up and down. We held each other quite close for kids our age, and then jumped. How totally weird. Of course, whenever I hear that song I remember that sweet-sadness of dancing with the very first boy I liked, even though he didn’t like me.

I guess I invited him and his friend to a birthday party at one point, because that is when I saw his body changing and he got this rubber tire- later he’d become a football player so it was just a phase, I guess. I was totally icked out and the crush died for good. No more pining for this guy. He was doing cannonballs into the deep end and just acting dumb, and not like a romantic hero. I may have been 14 and totally fickle and obsessive about superficial beauty.

Falsh forward a zillion years- well, 4 – and I walked down the high school graduation with him. Most of the graduation speech he was trying to convince me to do the Monty Python silly walk — a prank he had arranged with his friends. I don’t think I did it, but that was pretty funny. Funnier than the “silly ties” prank that people did each year.

Oh and there was some summertime activity of tennis involving doughnuts that he went on, but no specific memories from that period.

When we all went off to colleges, I had a few spies who told me his various layers of undress over time. See, the nudity didnt’ happen all at once. It was first shorts, then undershorts, then a hankie, then … nada. My friends were kind of amazed, then shocked, then it all went out of control when the Administration acted so weird. Well, that’s my opinion. As I said before, at my school it would have been OK if you had kept your grades up.

So Andrew: Sounds like you had a good time and lived it up. I’m sorry for your pain and suffering in the last years. I had totally lost connection, and I know there are others that were far closer to you, and I’m sorry for them and their loss. I am glad that I knew you when I was at that time in my life, the insanely awkward time where we are all forging our identities and figuring out how to have personalities. After pining for Sting and Morrissey from afar for so long, you were my first real-boy crush, and I don’t think you did a bad job of it.