Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Kindred Spirit

Eido Cohen won't be reading this blog tonight.

I had no idea Eido regularly read my blog until one night last month, when I was at his apartment and he displayed it to me on his large-screen "Google TV", a device that lets one surf the Web on a television screen. I first met Eido online. A friend had posted seeking writing advice for a book she was working on. I made the mistake of giving my advice, which was not well received. Her response can be boiled down to "You don't know what you're talking about; who asked you, anyway; go away." Well, it was a tad harsher than that, but I digress. This being the Internet, a stranger leapt to my defense, scolding her and lecturing her with an articulate and meticulous explanation of why everything I had said was correct. I emailed him a thank you and we began corresponding.

It was a while before we started talking by phone, mainly because I couldn't figure out how to pronounce "Eido". Usually, people speak their names when you first meet them, but pronunciation is lost on the Web. When Eido learned I was a writer, his interest was piqued. I discovered he had a wide depth of knowledge spread across many disciplines. Like me, he was a Renaissance man. We were kindred spirits.

Eido was well read and as a result had an extensive vocabulary on which he prided himself. I asked him to proofread my Paved With Good Intentions manuscript and that evening was the first time we met in person. I handed him a copy and he drove off. That night, he phoned me complaining, in mock umbrage, he had found two words in my manuscript that had sent him scurrying to the dictionary -- "and that was on the first page!" Like me, Eido did not believe a book was truly enjoyable unless you also learned something while reading it. We bonded immediately. Our online friendship blossomed into a personal, offline one. Eido was an intellectual and we engaged in hours of debate, online and in person. Last year, after my birthday party had ended, Eido and I stayed behind in the parking lot debating politics and economics until the wee hours of the morning. It was only last month, Eido and I went to see the Pacquiao-Bradley fight, and a few weeks before, that we had gone to the IMAX theater to see Dark Shadows.

Eido wrote on his Facebook page that I was one of his favorite authors, which I considered an enormous compliment, considering how well read Eido was. He repeatedly remarked how much he enjoyed Paved With Good Intentions because of its layers and depth, at one point analyzing the book on the basis of moral relativism, leading me to wish someone had written a Cliff's Notes for my own book so I could hold up my end of the conversation. I suggested, since he had found so much of note within the book, he should share his glowing critique on Amazon, where only a handful of lackluster reviews had trickled in, and point out what those readers had missed. He promised to do so, and I waited... and waited. Eido would spend hours composing 800-word replies to Facebook comments each night, but never found time to pen a few paragraphs for Amazon. I often chided him they would soon have to retitle "Waiting For Godot" to "Waiting For Eido" and told him I might not live long enough to see his review when it finally appeared. I never imagined the promising young man two decades my junior might not live long enough to write it.

R.I.P. Eido Cohen, a kindred spirit.

Eido Cohen


  1. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. Although, I've never met him, I read his recommended postings on Facebook.

    He was so young.

  2. Yes, Eido's Facebook posts were legendary, for their insight and their length. Additionally, as one of the proofreaders on Paved With Good Intentions, he caught a weird error I would never have noticed. In the chapter with the golem, there are several lines in Hebrew text (Hebrew characters are read from right to left). I had them correct in the manuscript but the typesetting software transposed the letters, so "Walk" became "Klaw" in the proof. Eido, being fluent in Hebrew, immediately spotted this and we corrected it in time. You're right, he died way too young. His loss would have been a tragedy at any age, but all the more so given his youth. I feel fortunate to have known him for the past few years and his death is as painful as it was unexpected.