A Letter for Our Friend

A human with many titles: son, brother, uncle, cousin, nephew, friend.

A dude with many names: Uncle Tuj, Tujjy, Tug, Tuggernuts, Tugasaurus Rex, Tujmaster, Fatty, Dirty, Teej, Static Dolphin.

I feel so lucky to have known TJ Ervin over the years, and our friendship since third grade is a reflection of life: relationships with those around you ebbs and flows. When you know someone for close to three decades, your lives are going to interconnect at different points.

I can say with full confidence that the last seven years in Chicago was the most fun I’ve ever had. TJ, Sean, Max, Pablo, Mikey D, Nate, and I have the most epic group text of all time, and we hung out every weekend. From festivals to laying around at TJ’s house in our jamjams, we were always together and connected through the city, music, friendship, and that dumb group chat. We talked everyday, sending stupid memes, roasting each other, and figuring out plans for the week so we could hang out.

The last two years were my favorite. We all moved within a seven block radius of one another between Noble Square, Ukrainian Village, and the West Loop. That hadn’t happened since we were kids, where we could conveniently all meet at the local bar or someone’s house. It didn’t matter the activity, it was always hilarious and epic. And at the center of all the laughter and fun was our dude TJ.

TJ was one of the best. His silly laugh was contagious. He was the goofiest dude I’ve ever known, just so goddamn funny. He always put others before himself. He loved his family and his friends. He loved life and lived it to its fullest potential. He gave great, big hugs. Whenever TJ was around, whatever you were up to was exponentially more fun.

This photo was taken the night before I moved to LA. One of the thoughts that really made me sad was “this will likely never happen again.”

Meaning that, the likelihood of living in a major city within walking distance of your best friends is not going to repeat itself. It was the end of an era. Our 20’s were earmarked by our location: Chicago. The best city in the world. And what makes it the best city is the people.

We returned to Chicago in December 2017 and it was exactly the same. All the homies together again, crying from laughing so hard. And I thought to myself, “at least when we come back to Chicago, this will still be here. Our friendship and these guys will all be here.”

Things are different now. But we’re still talking in the group chat. Something will always be missing. That something won’t be forgotten as long as we keep his memory alive, as long as we share the stories that make us laugh, smile, and remember the good times.

Hold on tight to those around you. Take lots of pictures. Pick up the phone. Make plans to be together, especially now but forever in the future.

Listen to Nola Wren’s cover of LCD Soundsystem’s “Someone Great.”

Then listen to “New York” by St Vincent.

I’ll miss you, Tug.

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