I’ve written roughly 100,000 words in an effort to describe how Mike turned my life around for the better. So now I’m turning the pen over to Kyle Allen, who was one of his best friends (Mike couldn’t stop with just one).

–Anne Leonard Badger, March 13, 2012

It’s difficult to measure the value of a friendship. Try a Google search. You’ll get about 38.2 million results, yet none of them really hit the mark. Not even close.

I first met Mike in high school. I was seventeen and he was fifteen. We knew each other for almost thirty years. In that time we were college roommates, played music together, saw a million concerts (actually more like four or five hundred), had our fair share of pints, and did our best to take sarcasm to a new level.

He was the kind of guy who could easily become fast friends with almost anyone. If Mike thought you were true to yourself, an honest person, then he was someone who wanted to get to know you. He’d seek you out and try to strike up a conversation with you. With Mike there were no false pretenses – what you saw is what you got. He didn’t put up with a lot of BS or fakery about something or someone. He always let you know what he thought about things whether you asked him or not. With Mike the filter was “always off” and, in retrospect, I appreciate that side of him more now than I did earlier on.

I could write or talk a lot about Mike and probably many of us that knew Mike well since high school or college can. Like any friendship that you recall in retrospect, there were awesome experiences – places we went, music we experienced, things we did together, people and friends we met along the way. And in all fairness, there were times when the guy just plain drove me crazy. More than once I heard Mike’s favorite phrase, “oh quit y’er bitchin’” and I was just as likely to respond with a smile as a smirk.

I miss my friend. Three years after he’s gone it’s still hard to believe and even harder to accept. Perhaps the ultimate irony for me now is that many of the things that I valued so much in our friendship are gone. But in many ways they’re not. If I see somebody, somewhere, do something kind of dumb, I can’t help but think that Mike would’ve said, “that guy’s the biggest idiot in the world.” I’m pretty sure he’d say this, because that’s what I’m thinking. Or, I just heard a great new song or band. One I’m sure Mike would’ve liked, because I do. I can’t even look at a chicken wing without still thinking of Mike. You should know something about Mike, he was the master of cooking chicken wings on an Old Smokey. Just ask anyone that knew him, they’ll tell you so.

Had I not met Mike oh so many years ago, I’m not sure exactly who I’d be today. His influence is still with me and I still think about him. I’ve come to learn that the true value of a great friend is that they’re still with you, even after they’re not.

Further information about Mike can be found at: