I remember it like it was yesterday. Lucas sharing with me one of his many outlooks on life:
“Girls like guys who are good looking or guys with a lot of money,” he said. “And with this gut, I’m sure as hell not gonna be good looking so I better be making a s***load of money when I’m older.”
Now I could go on about the flaws in that reasoning, but that’s not what we’re here for. In fact, like many things Lucas would say, some of that is more true than we’d like to admit. What I really want to do is spend some time reflecting on a friend’s life. A friend who was engaging, charming and saw the world as he saw fit.
I lost my closest friend, Lucas Allyn, to a boating accident in Utah this past week. The medical examiner determined carbon monoxide poisoning as the cause of death.
Lucas was that friend I could trust with anything, including my life. He was even going to be my best man (if I ever were to get married). My family took him in almost a year ago when he moved out of his apartment and since then, our bond became even stronger. He became essentially, the brother I never had.
It’s never easy to be reminded of life’s frailty with the passing of someone close to you. You can go from having the whole world ahead of you to being someone people write memorials about with the snap of a finger. All aspirations gone like that.
If anyone knew Lucas, they know he was a fun-loving, charismatic guy. He was someone who made you feel important, like you meant something to him (whether you really did or not, only he knew). If you were around him, you could just feel that energy and drive he had. He had the tenacity of Mark Cuban coupled with the business mind of Charles Koch.
Hell, he’d always tell me he wanted to be a multi-millionaire by the age of 30. And after that, a billionaire.
You see, he had this plan we’d start a business together. What that business was, we had no idea, but that didn’t matter. It was the idea that drove Lucas and boy, was he an idea man. His business ideas ranged from creating one that installed peep holes in people’s front doors (Low start-up costs, he’d tell me and “You’d be surprised how many people don’t have one.”) to building high speed trains that would transport the city’s trash to a new waste management facility in the west desert (for when the current facility fills up in the next 20 to 30 years. “They’re going to have to put it somewhere,” he said). And yes, you can laugh here, just like I did the first time I heard ’em.
That brings me to trains. He loved trains. He turned into an 8-year-old boy when it came to trains. He even attended the midnight premiere of Unstoppable, the movie starring Denzel Washington about, you guessed it, runaway trains.
Lucas told me many times that when he had enough money and if none of us were married by 40, he was going to buy us a bachelor mansion with acres of property. On that property was going to be a full-fledged, real world train system — one he would drive around whenever he pleased. He would joke about this, but I know at some level, he was completely serious.
“Can’t get a DUI on my own property going around in circles,” he joked.
And that was the great thing about Lucas — he hadn’t quite grown up yet. He still had that charming naïveté a lot of us lose over the years because we get caught up in the fear of failure and “getting that degree”. Lucas wasn’t quite there yet, and that’s why we loved him. Sure, he had his share of burned bridges (probably more than most of us), but he didn’t let that faze him.
Lucas would bring up the business dream half the time we were perusing downtown Salt Lake. I was supposed to handle communications and marketing “because I can’t write worth a damn,” he’d say. Another friend was going to handle sales, brokering deals, etc. And Lucas was going to be the head honcho, the deal maker.
“You see, I’m the one that’s good at making people feel comfortable and confident in whatever their investment is,” he’d always tell me.
He was right. He was pretty darn good at that.
Whether that dream would ever to come to fruition, we’ll never know. But the beauty of it was just that, a dream — something to motivate ourselves.
No, Lucas didn’t last more than a year in college. (I’m sure we all know someone where hitting the books just wasn’t for them). And we all know who else never received college degrees … So who’s to say he couldn’t have been someone we all were talking about 10, 20 years from now?
Side note: I was in the process of helping him enroll in school again. In the end, he wanted to do whatever it took to get to the top. I’ll always remember this quote from him: “You’re never penalized for over-dressing … just like you’re never penalized for being over-educated.” Lucas liked to live a life of excess, in all senses of the word. He even had dress shirts with his full name, Lucas Marcellus Allyn, embroidered on the collar.
In talking with his mother on Sunday, I said to her, “I think he looked up to me as much as I looked up to him.” She responded with the all too true cliché, “I guess opposites do attract.”
What she was getting at (and if we’re looking to put labels on things), was that I was the “responsible” one in the friendship. Lucas, on the other hand, was the “wildcard”. He took his share of risks. He knew things I didn’t. And I knew things he didn’t. We saw the world through different eyes and that’s why we got along. Lucas was taking the non-traditional path to a career. I “played it safe”. Went to school.
There’s no right way here, it’s simply about where we would end up.
If he taught me one thing, it’s to enjoy life because it’s too short not to.
Too short, indeed.
Lucas Allyn – Oct. 9, 1990 to June 29, 2013
UPDATE: The Daily Mail posted an article Tuesday with more details of the incident.