It's been a good ride so far!

Since I was just a kid all I have ever wanted to do was to make people laugh or just smile. As a child, an educator sent a note home to my parents. It read; If your son thinks he is going to get through life making people laugh he is in for a RUDE AWAKENING! He is not living up to his potential. WELL, I'M STILL NOT! But at this site you will at least see me try. From the heart, thank you for even being interested, it means the world to me. I always say, I have not a single fan but many a friend!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Best Friend I Never Had

I am not writing this in memory of this man as I have never met him.  I am writing this blog in his honor.
My friends, I want to introduce you to Kenny "Kung Fu Panda" Rohrer.

A few days ago I got a phone call from a dear friend, she was crying so hard that had in not been for caller ID, I would have never known who was on the phone, right up until we hung up.  We had left Barrett Jackson Car Auction on Sunday afternoon and headed home.  We took the 101 back home.  As it turns out, so did Panda, but he never made it home.  Details of the accident are sketchy at best, but we know that he ended up smacking someone hard from behind and as I understand it, he passed from this world to the next damn near instantly, at least I pray he did.  The call was to ask if I were willing to come perform the memorial service and to try and help this family begin healing.  How could I ever say no?

I am sure you are wondering why Jack Shit, the guy who lives to put smiles on people's faces would choose such a sad topic to write about going into the weekend right?  Please, allow me to explain my thoughts here.  You see, I live by very simple rules.  There is really no way to put every single person you meet through the ringer to see if they are truly worthy of all you have to give.  The people who come to me from other friends, already know that person and they immediately get the benefit of the doubt.  I always say, A friend to my friend is now a friend to me.  Does that make sense for you all?  As it turns out, Panda was not only a friend to my friend, but a friend to a great many friends of mine and those that he was friends with are stellar people, yet I never once had the opportunity to meet him or worse yet, I never got to ride with him and that saddens me.  As you may or may not know by now, I am an ordained minister.  I have performed a great many weddings and sadly nearly as many funerals.  To hear the pain in the voice of my friend is very hard for me to handle, when I care about someone all I want to do is take their pain away. 

Last night was the memorial service.  When I arrived, people were already drinking like it was an Irish Wake.  If you don't know what I am describing you are lucky.  We Irish have been known to mourn for months and never put the bottle down the entire time.  Last night when I arrived, I was a man with a plan!  I refused to mourn and I refused to allow anyone else to do it either.  This was the only rule of the service.  If tears are shed, they best be from laughing and remembering something hysterical that this maniac shared with them.  Pretty simple right?  Not so fast though.  If you have never gotten up at a funeral and eulogized someone, you have no idea how hard it is to keep your composure.  Now when it's someone you loved and they were not sick and passed on slowly, but rather ripped from your life it really ups the pressure something fierce.  I met with both of his wives, at least I think they were both wives, this guy was living large!  Hell, I left there and I am still not sure who was who?  For all I know, he was still married to both of them?  Anyway, as I began to explain to the family what I do, I asked who and how many people would be coming up to speak?  There was one for sure and maybe one of the boys.  Ut oh!  Now what?  Normally when I perform one of these I know the person well and I myself can go on and on but I didn't know Panda.  I made them a deal.  If I can make this about celebrating Panda instead of mourning him will you guys come up?  The answer was an overwhelming, probably not!  So I had a poem that I had written that was perfect for this and I did some banter with the crowd but at this point we were heading towards a two minute memorial and that was unacceptable.  How can you have 100 people there and no one has anything to say?  Well I opened up with what I had learned about this man and got the crowd worked up.  Then I explained my plan to all in attendance.  THERE WILL BE NO MOURNING HERE TONIGHT ---  TONIGHT WE CELEBRATE LIFE, NOT MOURN DEATH!  With that, the crowd went nuts and I could feel the tension in the room ease.  I said my piece and asked if anyone wanted to speak.  Panda's wife, one of them, got up and opened the "show" so to speak with the story of the night he got his nipples pierced and how he blacked out from the pain so bad that he was snoring and pissing himself at the same time.  Laughter and tears filled the hall and that was good.  As each person finished their story I of course had some smart ass comment for the audience each and every single time and kept them laughing.  The stories that we heard were just incredible!  As the service went on, I began to feel overwhelmingly jealous and a bit mad.  I was jealous that all of these people, many friends included got to spend so much time with this great man.  I was mad that my life had become so damn busy that I didn't see many of these friends much at all anymore.  Had I been available, I would have met this great man and he would have certainly been a big part of my life.  He was a huge part in every person whose life he entered. 

Well my fear of the 2 minute service soon went out the window and as we approached the 45 minute mark, I knew in my heart that we had done this great man, great honor and respect!  So many people got up to talk, nearly all of the 6 kids.  Imagine that strength?  We laughed HARD for nearly an hour.  Although so many knew him, very few knew him truly well.  Nobody really knew that every year during Christmas, he would find families that had nothing and he didn't even know them, he had only heard and out of his own pocket and his valuable time, go load that house up with gifts so that no matter what, those kids still had Christmas.  This was a great man.  I closed the service with a poem that I had written and thanked all for allowing me the privilege and honor of HONORING PANDA.  Today was his funeral and I was unable to make it but I understand that there were many hundreds in attendance. 

The world is a little bit less wonderful and beautiful without Kenny being here, but I bet my ass that Heaven is all that much better now for his arrival.  I hope God has a strong bladder, because this guy could make you laugh so hard people would piss themselves.

So why did I write this?  I wrote this to remind each of us, myself included, to love the ever loving shit out of the ones you care about.  Never let anyone leave your side angry.  Hold the ones you love and let them know that you love them every time you can.  Live each and every single day on this earth like it was your last because you never know, it may very well be.  Anyway, these were my thoughts on the whole tragedy.



  1. Thanks Jack for the reminder! We all get self absorbed in our own way mostly by accident some on purpose that we need someone like you to remind us to stop and notice our surroundings and what we have!

    RIP Panda. Thoughts and prayers to the family

  2. Great stuff Jack! I don't want any crying at my funeral either, unless I was on someone else's bike at the time.

  3. I was there and remember the story of the " beep beep , wave" where he would have fun with his children while driving and beep his horn and wave at strangers, or absolutley no one at all....what fun! I think we all have lil things we do that are menial ( or embarrasing) at the time, but will leave a lasting impression for lifetimes!!! So to you, and all of you that i have not met yet...."BEEP BEEP, WAVE"

  4. or singing carrie underwood and singing the jesus take the wheel and just letting it go! Priceless....

  5. Jack.. I just read all about a man called “Panda”.. I done good till I got to the commit section. I must admit I lost it on “BEEP BEEP, WAVE”. I’ve got a daughter and I hope when I’m gone there’s some simple thing she remembers I done that brought her a smile!