I was sitting at the table in the local pizza joint with the BF and his family at our regular Friday night pizza and beer ritual, absently thumbing through Facebook on my cell phone looking for a photo I wanted to show to the BF when I first heard the news.
Now I really understand how my mom felt that morning in 1977 while I watched her getting ready for her day at work when she suddenly stopped and stared at the radio with a look of disbelief and tears in her eyes ... the day they announced that Elvis Presley had passed away.
Of course, I have a Tom Holcomb story too. Not nearly as many as I would have liked to have had the opportunity to collect, but then, I've never claimed that we exactly hit it off. And I say that with a wry smirk and a giggle ... because we didn't exactly not hit it off either.
I actually met Tom briefly for the first time in the very beginning of my career at a WINBA show in Anaheim right about the time he was introducing his own line of products — which is now Premium Nail Concepts. But not "met" in the way that would have made much of an impression on either of us — more like chit-chatted in passing on a very busy day for both of us. But that nail was gorgeous and the envy of every other demonstrator I spoke with that day.
It was at a two-day class in southern California in the early years of the new century that we spent the weekend sparring with each other over whether or not the burn out I was experiencing at the time was about money and whether or not his was, and who should take whose advice.
I always meant to get back to him about that; I wanted to let him know that I was right. It turns out that I'm really not motivated by money so much as by appreciation and respect. As soon as I got rid of the band of clients that were sucking the life of me during that year, my enthusiasm for my work returned... and mutual friends assure me that he regained his shortly thereafter as well.
Tom Holcomb was not just a man of unrivaled talents and a legend in our industry, he was an unforgettable character of uncommon charisma who enriched the lives of the people he encountered. The world is a little less without him, and trying to explain the magnitude of our loss to those who had never heard of him has been like trying to recreate the Mona Lisa from a handful of sand ... which, of course, Tom would have been able to do.