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The Dead Dave Wall

My son’s father used to have a Dead Dave Wall. Perhaps he still does; I haven’t visited for awhile. But back in the olden days when we lived together, it was what you’d call the Focal Point in our apartment.

He didn’t set out to create a Dead Dave Wall, it just turned out that way.

It all started before I met him. His best friend, Dave, died of a drug overdose. John, being the sentimental guy he is, had his favourite photo of Dave blown up to poster size and put it in a frame. It was nice. A giant sepia-toned Dave relaxing with a book in a comfy chair, hanging over our couch. Then another friend named Dave died, so John stuck a photo of him in a frame and hung it on the wall next to the first Dead Dave. A couple of years later, another one died.

One Dave is just a Dave, two Daves are just a couple of Daves, but once you have three Dead Daves, you’ve got a collection happening. And John had very strong collector instincts.

The surviving Daves were starting to get a little uneasy about the whole thing.

“Someday,” John would say grandly when one of them would visit, “You’ll be on this wall.”

And then he would pull out the old Canon AE1 and snap a picture of them.

Dave M died slowly of liver disease: John got lots of good pictures of him in advance. Dave S died very suddenly in a drunk driving accident, so John wasn’t as well prepared. This Dave had managed to get his hand between his face and John’s camera every time he visited. He thought he would somehow be safe if John never captured him on film. However, I happened to have a photo of him and his pregnant girlfriend standing on the front porch, so John had the photo lab remove her and blow him up. Into a frame and onto the wall he went.

By this time, there weren’t many Daves left. Most of them had died, and the few who remained kind of drifted away, maybe in the interests of self-preservation. Just as well, John said, because the wall was full.

He collects stamps now.

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