I knew Cronan on the 'net for some time, and I'd wondered what he'd been up to in the years since we last spoke. Just today, someone posted a link to one of his parodies, and I decided to explore the hosting site as a whole (I remember when Cronan had a page that talked a lot--a LOT!--about duct tape, Norman, and had a picture of Denzel Washington up in his bio section).
As I pulled up the front page of the Tribute, as corny as it sounds, I had a split-second rememberance: Cronan made a very high SAT (naturally), and he was undecided on whether he'd start work right away, making 30 grand a year working with computers, or go to NC State or Chapel Hill. The split-second passed, and the front page was 13% loaded. Another split-second memory shot across my mind: we once bandied around the idea of "seeing a movie or something" when I mentioned I lived in Charlotte and he, in Raleigh (both in NC)...it never happened, but I sometimes think about it as I consider grad schools in his old stomping grounds. I wondered where Cronan might be going to school...if he was still in state, it'd be possible to look him up (if he'd remember me). When the front page of the Tribute was fully loaded, all the memories stopped cold, frozen in nothing less than true agony as my mind was seized by the realization: Cronan was gone. I had no inkling, no clue. What a blow.
Cronan was two years my junior. Our association was very informal; we exchanged letters periodically, keeping up with bits and pieces of Star Trek and video games, mostly. (I still wonder if he picked up that import copy of Symphony of the Night.) Our friendship started out in a rather unique way--what else should we expect from the young man who dealt with Norman, the 3" tall elf? I'd posted something on usenet about the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards from that year, 1996 if I remember correctly. I complained that Patrick Stewart was more deserving than Will Smith, who was given an award for his work in "Independence Day." A day or so passed. Then Cronan came along : )
Cronan let me have it in a manner I'd never seen before. I was completely new to usenet, to computers in general really; I didn't even know how to copy and paste text to respond to him line by line. That he could do this and I couldn't just didn't seem fair...it, and his razor-sharp wit, were infuriating! God, what an upstart, I thought. But at the same time there was something undeniably endearing about even the way he crashed on me...something almost, if you will, transcendental about his playfulness and sense of humor; after exchanging harsh words on the newsgroup, this Cronan-Fuzzy grew on me a bit, and shortly thereafter I apologized to Cronan through e-mail for the bitter remarks I'd made. He responded in kind, and I have respected him ever since then.
Cronan would slap me for saying as much, but I do like to believe there is something significant and spiritual that happens to us all after physical death. Is he aware of what I'm writing here? Does he know that no less than Robert Hewitt Wolfe, THE Man at the old DS9 group (always around, always helpful), has paid his respects? And all of the others...including me? Cronan, if you don't get the message right away, I'm sure it'll come to you someday firsthand. In long-winded fashion, my take on the message is: You are special. We miss your sense of humor, your genius...I myself marvel at what you could've offered us plain and simple folk in the new millenium. You were that smart, spelling mistakes notwithstanding : ) You defined the internet for me, that's for sure...from the wars with Graham Kennedy to the countless newsgroups you ruled with a satirical fist, you were, in every sense of the word, charming without fail. Aggravating at times? Maybe. But always a gentleman in the end, always someone I would've been proud and honored to meet. Always lovable, like the villian you just can't stop rooting for. Always Cronan.
This is weak language for what my emotions wish to express to you, CMT. Rest in peace, my friend.
William Sean Robertson ("WRobert525" and "Cashbailey" of Cronan's least favorite ISP, America Online)
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