Some of you have asked whether my friend Mike Cartmell, who died, was the person often referred to as “the jet ski guy” from my film I, Curmudgeon. Indeed he was. I have been trying to say something more personal about him on Facebook but everything just seems so inadequate. We met around 1982, and it was the friendly version of “love at first sight”. We just knew we were going to be friends. Part of it had to do with a certain shared negativity, I guess you can call it. I didn’t have to worry that I would say anything too negative for him and vice versa. Mike could express disgust as well as anyone I ever knew. And the reason he could do it so well was because he was the smartest person I ever knew. When I get into an argument, I’ve got nothing except vague impressions to back it up. But Mike read everything and he knew stuff. He’d tell me to read a book if I wanted to know something. I wouldn’t read the book because I’m lazy and eventually I’d ask him to explain it all to me. I really don’t know who’s going to explain shit to me now that he’s gone. He gave me a baseball mitt, renovated my house, built me a table, tried to teach me how to cook, gave me spices to help my cooking, drove like 23 hours straight one time to get us to Memphis as quickly as possible, tried to teach me guitar, taught me things about the world, called me on my shit and kind of made me proud that I was cool enough to have a friend like him. There’s a hole in my life that will never be filled. But life goes on.
Alan Zweig (February 13, 2014)