When you have a career that takes you away from your family on a somewhat regular basis, you tend to find ways of coping with the loneliness.  Fortunately, my job has me interacting with people; mostly our focus group / interview respondents.  In addition to those who get paid for their opinion, there is a whole host of others with whom I interact; clients, the people who work at the facilities we hire, and (of course) taxi cab drivers.
Over the years I have come to know another important cog in the qualitative research machine, the guy who works the video camera.  He is probably the only other guy who pays as much attention as I do to these interviews as my clients spend their time in the backroom doing email, updating their Facebook pages, and eating rubber chicken.
As such, I always like to chat with the camera operator to hear their perspective; oftentimes he (or she) provides an interesting point of view that is worthy of consideration.  When my projects require a high quality video, I always hire a fellow by the name of Joe Indusi. He is an excellent cameraman and also a very talented editor.  We also have many things in common such as a passion for pop-culture, a snarky sense of humor, and the fact that we each have a twin brother.  I have met Joe’s twin, Jeff, as he was part of Joe’s business for a while.
A few weeks ago I was working with Joe in Chicago when I found out that his twin brother passed away suddenly a few months back.  I was shocked as Jeff was a relatively young guy who seemed quite healthy (wasn’t overweight, seemed to eat well, etc.).  He complained of a sharp headache with blurred vision and the next day he was gone. Poof!
Looking at Joe in the eye as he recounted this story, I could not help but think of my own twin brother who I don’t see or speak with nearly enough.  I could never imagine losing him. I do believe that all brothers and sisters have a special bond, but the bond between twins (and other multiples) is different.  We don’t have any special ESP or anything like that, but we did share a womb together and we did spend the majority of our childhood in each other’s company.  As such, to this day, we can finish each other’s sentences, recount stories of our childhood with ease, and seem to be able to communicate without speaking.
Hearing of Jeff’s passing is another reminder of how fragile life really is.  Unfortunately, I know that I will soon forget about this and revert back into the “I am at the center of my own universe” mindset.
RIP Jeff Indusi.  May you enjoy that great big film set in the sky!