An old friend of mine, Tim Mogg, died suddenly this week. A mutual friend suggested that I might like to write something for the funeral which I could not attend. Tim was one of those people with whom I rarely spoke to but whose presence in the world was very important to me. Knowing he was out there was good. Goodbye, old friend. Every time we hear a bell, it means you've made some angel spurt feathers out their nose laughing.
Tim was a very old friend of mine from middle school in Ottawa.
Even then, Tim showed all the signs of the creative, funny, delightfully subversive, and kind man that he grew up to be.
To me, Tim taught me what was possible with the imagination. He taught me that the world was full of possibility and surprise. If you looked for them, trampolines and trapdoors were everywhere. And you could find yourself somewhere you didn’t expect.
Could you light your pants on fire in the basement and not get hurt?
Could you hand a regular hammer in to art class as your art project and get away with it?
Could you make a super eight movie where people would suddenly disappear only to show up ten feet away a second later?
Of course! If you were inventive and figured out how to do it.
As a kid, Tim was always drawing, making little movies, and performing sketches. We played and replayed Monty Python, The Hitchhikers Guide and countless examples of wise foolishness.
I think that back then, life was a vast comedy skit waiting for Tim to improvise something amazing. And, like skits, it wasn’t something that you did alone. It was about friendship. Delight. Surprise. Interaction.
For example, the time when Tim's parents were away for the day and he painted a mural which entirely covered the double garage door at his house. He left the door up. His parents came home, closed the door (from the inside) and went to bed. The next morning, the neighbourhood was in an uproar. The Moggs's house had a mural of naked people on their garage door. To do this when you were 14 was mighty, daring, and entirely and brilliantly funny. At least we thought so!
Though he played such vexing tricks on his parents, I remember how even as a youngster, he spoke about his parents with such affection and respect. He took an almost protective tone when speaking of his mother—something remarkable for an eleven-year old.
He was a wild card, a subversive trickster. Why? I think because he knew that the world was full of possibility, wonder, and joy. Because he knew he could amaze and delight his friends and family. And though it might not have been obvious when we were kids, Tim understood people’s difficulties, and often acted to cheer them up through laughter and surprise.
Tim made me feel anything could happen…and with Tim it often did.
I would like to offer my deepest condolences to all who knew and cared about this most creative, witty, compassionate, and caring man.