A phenomenon

Brian was not so much a man, as he was a phenomenon. Anyone who knew him will most likely agree with this description, and I think he would be quite proud of it. After all, this is the man who once wrote a paper comparing the teachings of an Indian religious thinker with Ricky Martin-and received an a.

I first met Brian in grade 10, and from the outset my friends and I all found him a bit-well-odd. He was confident, happy and adventurous, all those things the rest of us self-conscious teens struggled to achieve. It was not long, however, before his goofy smile, irrepressibility and particular brand of storytelling won us all over. The ‘Brian Collins story’ has long been famous, not for its content (as this was generally unimportant), but for watching the man in action.

All the traits made that Brian so incredibly charismatic were augmented by his entrance to university. As a student leader for U of C 101 in the beginning of our second year, Brian did a topless pole dance outside the Social Sciences building. The next day, the final day of the intro program, our group contained almost twice as many students as originally intended. Coincidence?

Brian also came close to running for Students’ Union President on a platform of abolishing the su. With his good looks, zaniness and slightly off-kilter perception of reality, I believe to this day he would have stood a good chance.

I would often encounter Brian in the Info Commons and he would proceed to tell me all about his next great paper topic. These were never ordinary, often possessing genius in their oddity. Almost without fail, he’d finish his description by saying "it’s due tomorrow though, and I haven’t started, so I don’t know if I’ll get all that in there." When I let my astonishment show, he would merely reply "oh, I’m not too worried" and flash that massive smile. I can think of very few instances when the morning did not find Brian trudging to class, excellent paper in hand.

Although many of you probably never met Brian, I can almost guarantee you have at some point experienced his presence. Whether it was that noisy table at the Den, singing and playing drinking games on a Thursday afternoon, or the guy who accosted you in the bookstore, trying to convince you to come to the rugby team’s party that weekend. He was the guy who always walked into class late yet knew exactly what was being talked about.

I cannot express to you how much Brian will be missed. Both he and Joah were people who refused to let the exigencies of life bring them down, even for a second. Always with smiles, always with laughter, and always with some great plan for the weekend that you couldn’t help but get excited about. Brian and Joah knew that life is not to be taken too seriously, and in living this lesson they brought joy, happiness and laughter to all around them.

The last week has shown how important they were to so many people. At first I worried their lust for life, their legacy, would quickly fade. After absorbing the tremendous outpouring of grief and loss at their passing and the amount of love which was clearly behind them, I’m not too worried about it.

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