As the world honors a fitness legend – i remember a friend.
If you have visited me in LA – i take you on this one Hike – it’s to the Hollywood sign – & nOOooOO it’s not the trendy Griffith Park hike that the World associates with Tinsel Town that i trek weekly now – his hike is and was one of a kind – just like him – some things you don’t realize or appreciate until what led you there, to that feeling or memory – is already gone. Up off of a Sunrise, around a corner where only 4wheel drive dares rally & where the path follows no ones dusty tracks but our own – this hike is a beautiful solitary journey engraved forever a part of me. It was Greg Plitt that shared this hike with me in June of 2009. The whole way up he kept pondering the extraordinaire dependence of that one and only cell phone tower & radio centrality behind the Hollywood Sign – that was the Army Ranger in him …. he would say: “If any enemy were to attack Hollywood – first they would take that out – it would seize all communication.” I would laugh & not understand while he would tell me about each letter of the long ago reasonings and I would daze off into the skyline that was painted with reds and pinks and bright blues – the smog above the city always looks like icing to me – it separates the pastry from the cake – until he would bring my attention back into this world with talking about how many chicken breast we could grill and eat immediately following our trek & what beers we should tap into before we played bat-gammon on his handmade wooden table he made in the corner of his burbank home – his dogs not on a leash followed & sometimes even led us – obediently loyal – they would never stray beyond out of sight. I mean who would let Greg Plitt out of their sight if he was in it – certainly not any soul worthy of his gift of being.
Before i moved to LA we were in communica between a photographer & some fitness modeling work we had both in common. We had both done solid work for the same sturdy company – Under Armour – it’s the foundation that started us both – a universal family of sorts that bonded us stronger than blood – both of us out of Baltimore – we had so much in common we never had to talk about because we already knew all we didn’t have to say. I flew in for a trial week in LA – and this is where Greg insisted i stay with him in his guest house that he had built himself in his backyard – when i arrived, he had a friend of a friend of another friend in a tight spot that needed a pillow for a night or two – so Greg had given this unknown stranger – roof – food, shelter, direction and hope indefinitely, this is Greg Plitt before you even know him – he becomes to one all that is home – in a way to everyone – he is the motivational kaboom of what is life in this world of ungiving – he always gave, un-needingly.
He introduced me to the gym i still work out at, he showed me the street i moved in to, he connected me genuinely to everybody. Once i moved in to LA he picked me up every saturday at 4pm – routinely – for mass at Good Shepard Catholic Church in Beverly Hills. He got so embarrassed by how much i loved singing the church hymns – i would give him his missolette and point out which number song we were on and he would pretend to sing along with me. We would frequent cabo cantina for football sundays & when he offered repeatedly to help me put my furniture together in my new apartment i would ignore his calls – he would pick me up on sunday evenings for the Hollywood bowl where we would watch the summer concerts together – he is the one that taught me to never take Sunset, when you can take Fountain or Franklin & i remember this one night as some cymbals rang over and over majestically in our glorious box seat under the night sky in noble company he casually tilted his iphone over for me to read his text so nonchalantly “you are live on Conan right now,” we laughed. That was Greg – even in his debut’s he put you center stage.
My favorite Cafe in WeHo is where Greg introduced me to my first Hollywood celeb – who i would end up working for 2 years later – a dream gig, back up talent for Jackie Warner – she loved Greg more than i even realized how much i loved and appreciated him. To be young and naïve and unknowing is such a weird thing – it makes me so ultra grateful for all that was and will be. It was Greg that showed me the ropes of Life, and in LA – he did the one impossibility – he made this haven feel a home in a way I never knew any place could feel a belonging – he took me under his wings & showed me how to climb before he even knew he could fly – as he does so surely now.
When I think of Greg Plitt – I think of Crazy by Patsy Cline blaring in his range rover – his story telling of all things historically inspiring – how every morning he would check the weather conditions to see if on his lunch break he could squeeze in a quick sky diving session, how he still has my garage door opener to my old apartment so he can forever have the best parking on Sunset for free – how he refused to understand the concept of dusting in his own home, but he would prioritize bathing his pups every week – of how he always insisted driving like a real man should – i took for granted then all the doors he opened, no man does this any more – opens doors – not Greg, he always put ladies first, he was always the last to sit at any table . . . mannnn – i will miss him most every time i set foot into a sushi dive bar, and of our fighting over all sporting events even though we were routing for the same team, my first movie experience at The Grove was with Greg – how we couldn’t go in public without his turning of every single head and knowing every single awesome being, I think of Listening to Sinatra on repeat in the wee oddest hours and us both deciphering it like Socrates reading hieroglyphics – him making me listen to the lyrics I already knew so well, but I never told him, it was too awesome to interrupt – him crooning to his favorite song – “I DID IT MY WAY,” . . . and he did.
I think of how hard he worked, he took every thing he did with equal dedication and seriousness and commitment – of his routine, of his love for life, of Dimples and our terrible nights of karaoke where we were sure we were Sonny and Cher – which I am sure of now – we were not, but we did quite often discuss choregraphy and wardrobe before we began – shhh, don’t tell him i ever told you that – he had some slick dance moves he kept always ready in his back pocket – he has however promised me that he burned all the tapes of us attempting duet . . . one can only hope. I think of surfing – to San Deigo – roadtripping – he taught me so crisply so quickly – that he trusted me out there with his board alone after our 3rd run, mostly so he could watch me plumment wipe outs from the shore line – i can hear him laughing now – it’s making me laugh thinking about it – his smile like his laughter was always contagious – and graceful – how pretty he made something so narly as surfing appear. That was one of his truest talents – he could make the hardest physicality look like sheer poetry. GREG PLITT had this beautiful ability to make one feel like he had known you his whole life and that you were closer than ever to all things in living that make you feel truly alive. He was so loved by everyone he met – there is not a creature in this world that didn’t draw to his light – I remember walking up to shore, him sitting beside his friend and his friends kids and them all calling him Uncle Greg – when i think of Greg i think of family – I think of venti americano’s with an extra shot of espresso every morning at 7:30 am promptly, of his passion, his drive, his heart – his thriving existence of what is living in this world we grace called life, how hard he fought to be a vital part of it positively, sacrificing only ever himself. I think of his internal clock – as it ticked, it never idoled – it thrived vigourously and I think of how I never thanked him enough for all he gave me and all he gave us all, for you GREG PLITT are a legend among us – you shall and WILL live on forever – in your Legacy prevails immortality. Thank you Greg for giving us all more of you than you ever gave yourself.
i LOVE YOU mannnnnnnn.