For the past week I’ve been following the story of the disappearance of Andrew J. Koenig. The story came to a tragic end, Koenig being found dead in Vancouver yesterday. His father, Walter Koenig (Chekov of Star Trek fame), reported that his son’s death was a suicide. Most people knew Andrew for his role as Boner on Growing Pains. I never watched that show and couldn’t pick Andrew out of line up based on that role. But for the past several years I’ve been an avid listener of the Never Not Funny Podcast, a great comedy podcast for which Andrew tweaked the knobs. Andrew often appeared on mic, sharing stories about his life. Given that his sister Danielle often appears on the show, and the show is hosted by his brother-in-law, Jimmy Pardo, I feel like I know a lot about the Koenig family.
Interestingly, Andrew also serves as the inspiration of one of my all-time favorite short stories, Jeffty Is Five by Harlan Ellison. Jeffty is a beautiful and tragic story about the loss of innocence and childish wonderment. Ellison is a great writer and for most of his short stories he writes evocative forwards talking about the given story’s inspiration. Jeffty is largely inspired by a brief chat Ellison had with the five year old Andrew at a party thrown by his parents. I’ve posted that intro here. In the light of this week’s events, Ellison’s words serve as a touching tribute to Andrew. Please note that Ellison refers to the child as Josh, which is Andrew’s given name. Also, if I've misinterpreted any of this, my apologies.