Phoenix - Randall Jacobs of Phoenix died at age 65, having lived a life that would have sent a lesser man to his grave decades earlier. His friends called him RJ, but to his family he was Uncle Bunky, a.k.a. The Bunkster. He told his last joke, which cannot be printed here, on May 4th, 2020.
Uncle Bunky burned the candle, and whatever else was handy, at both ends. He spoke in a gravelly patois of wisecracks, mangled metaphors, and inspired profanity that reflected the Arizona dive bars, Colorado ski slopes, and various dodgy establishments where he spent his days and nights. He was a living, breathing "hang loose" sign, a swaggering hybrid of Zoni desert rat, SoCal hobo, and Telluride ski bum.
A prolific purveyor of Bunky-isms such as "Save it, clown!" (or "Zeebo" if he was in a mood), he would mercilessly tease his "goombatz" nephews with nicknames such as "mud flap" and "style master." Just days after his beloved cat Kitters passed away, he too succumbed to "The Great Grawdoo", leaving behind a vapor trail of memories and a piece of sage advice lingering in his loved ones' ears: "Do what Bunky say. Not what Bunky do."
For all his chaotic energy and hysterical charm, he had a gentle soul. A night out with Bunky could result in a court summons or a world-class hangover, but his friends and family would drop whatever they were doing to make a trip out to see him. His impish smile and irreverent sense of humor were enough to quell whatever sensibilities he offended. He didn't mean any harm; that was just Bunky being Bunky.
When the end drew near, he left us with a final Bunkyism: "I'm ready for the dirt nap, but you can't leave the party if you can't find the door."
He found the door, but the party will never be the same without him.
In lieu of flowers, please pay someone's open bar tab, smoke a bowl, and fearlessly carve out some fresh lines through the trees on the gnarliest side of the mountain.
Published in The Arizona Republic from May 6 to May 10, 2020.