It has been three days and it’s hard for me to accept that Duncan has traveled into the ephemeral dream Descartes may or may not have had – in other words, dead.
I was present for the cremation and at his daughter’s request, brought a pair of Nunchucks and the actor Taimak, but nobody was in the proper mood for a mixed martial arts display. The actual funeral was a short affair, consisting of a drive-by-urn-shuttle-toss into the assumed location of the dug grave.
Duncan was fixated on his own death, remarking, “I would prefer death to retrieving my mail on the chance I might encounter neighbors for small talk.”
A philosopher at heart, he was best known for his books, “Having Lunch with the D Man, Known in Some Circles as Descartes,” and, “A Priori, B Priori, I’m Certain There is Another Letter.” Prior to his tenure at J. Crew he gained notoriety in the back rooms of Anthropologie, becoming a guru of sorts, an instant hit, entertaining co-workers with his wisdom on Spinoza and Kant, insisting that he, too, never desired to leave the store, resulting in a promotion to Whole Foods Market where he preached on the differences between green apples and red apples before massive crowds. Upon discovering CEO John Mackey was pro-citizen yet anti-union, Duncan promoted himself to Future Assistant Team Leader of Managers in Charge of Vice Presidents, only to be demoted to Banana Patrol within the hour.
His finest hour was being called a “genius” by Kato Kaelin, following a yoga session in which Duncan had impressed the room by balancing the balls of his feet on the outer edge of his no-fat-double-whip-foam-chai-express-latte, while displaying perfect downward-dog technical form.
Fixated on death, he authored the book, “I Can’t Wait to High-Five Ghandi.” During this time his theory of learned behavior was coming to fruition. He insisted that veracity and sacrificing for others are universal vices, which preferably should be accomplished via email.
He was put on trial in France for impersonating Daft Punk at a concert. His escape was due in large part to his skill in tickling as opposed to the complicated web of false IDs and mustaches provided for him by the Jerry Lewis fan club. A week later, determined to the bitter end, he would pull off a successful show in Japan as Daft Punk, accompanied by short-lived acquaintance, Dax Sherman, earning 1.5 million dollars. He used the cash to construct a grand origami plane, modeled after a 747, that was larger than a two-story building, which he later converted to a small scale apartment and complained of a draft as children, vagrants, and the general public detached large portions of his walls.
For mundane errands, such as getting milk, or retrieving the mail, he had the habit of dressing up like Liberace.
Dance was appalling to his eyes. To conquer this fear, he took a break dancing course, but was turned away at the door for wearing underwear as a hat.
His dire wish was to have lunch with Clint Eastwood. One day, through a mutual acquaintance with Condaleeza Rice, he got that wish, and the two ended up having a rancorous public debate as to whether or not the credits of a movie should be played in the beginning or the end.
Inexplicably, around the age of seventy, he began his obsession with writing dog books, assumed by many to symbolically represent clandestine alien communication with top levels of the United States government, while also solving the Kennedy Assassination. He received mixed reviews for “Alien Landings, Dogs Like Their Stomach’s Rubbed,” but it was his bestselling book, “Dog’s Look Funny In Tank Tops,” which was well received by the President, who invited Duncan over for lunch, confiding in him the secrets of Roswell, followed by a three hour game of Twister. Leaving the White House, Duncan managed to elude the press, yet, was seen in multiple 7-11 stores telling knock-knock jokes.
He became well known for linking NASA cover-ups with structures on Mars, but refused to tip hair dressers more than three percent, insisting, “If we let these troglodytes populate Mars we’d have a bunch of poncy nymphomaniacs using raw materials to ascertain the meaning of a perfect nail polish.”
I will miss Duncan, remembering fondly how he insisted on driving to a doctor’s appointment with a bowl of cereal in one hand, while adjusting the stick shift with the other.