RIP Caleb Schaber

Caleb Schaber

Caleb Schaber

Caleb Schaber was a man who made you nervous. And like Dick Cheney, you were always worried he might just shoot you in the face. But unlike Dick Cheney, you were more worried that he’d probably shoot himself in the face before he got to you.

And you loved him for it.

I met Caleb first, online, almost 13 or 14 years ago. We went to college together. And his online persona proceeded him. He’d fight with people constantly.

And yet, if you didn’t fall for his shit, he’d like you for it. A few weeks, or months later, I met him in person, and he was nothing like the Caleb I knew online. As one friend put it, he was fragile, way more fragile than you expected.

The last time I saw Caleb he was packing up a grease powered panel van with Esmerelda Strange in my front yard and heading off for new adventures. He had stayed a few days, and we got to play some music, drink some beer, and shoot the shit… and there was a lot to talk about. There always was.

Caleb was a kindred spirit, someone who lived out loud, because it was the only way that he could. It wasn’t a choice he was making, it wasn’t an act. It was just Caleb.

In the time I knew him he wrote more articles for the University of Washington’s Daily than any person before or since, crazy shit, about his own life mostly. He’d be off to chase aliens at Area 51, or writing the most offensive crap the UW Daily ever printed. And the Publisher at the time would be drinking Milk of Magnesia, I’m sure, and wishing it was Milk of Amnesia.

Caleb jumped off the Aurora Avenue bridge once, and got a steel rod through his back to prove it.

He also ran for Mayor of Seattle, after getting a tremendous amount of tattoo work, one that just said “FUCK YOU.” He came in either 3rd or 4th, outta 6 contestants. Which meant he beat people. Which wasn’t suprising, because Caleb was smart, and likeable. Even people that hated Caleb liked him. Mayor Greg Nickels said it himself, “I like Caleb, Caleb’s a nice guy.” I don’t know if Caleb liked Greg Nickels. I would guess not.

After years of gonzo-style journalism, Caleb decided to jump off another bridge, and head to Afghansitan and Iraq, with stops in between. Many of us that knew him figured he’d get himself killed, as if you knew him, you knew the fragile part of Caleb, just as well as you knew the tough as nails part of Caleb.

And in the end, I can’t say what killed Caleb, other than Caleb. He shot himself. He did it in front of someone who loved him. It was a cruel and unforgiveable act. And the reason we all feared Caleb, and loved Caleb, and tried to help Caleb.

I too loved Caleb. He was a good friend, and a good enemy, and a caring and hateful and filled with rage sorta guy. He was as raw nerve, like I will never know again.

I’ll miss him, a lot.

RIP
Caleb Schaber

11 Responses

  1. Thank you.

  2. Gentry;

    I’ve sent a note of condolence to you. I’ve asked you for information about the memorial that you held. You have chosen not to respond. That’s okay, some people go through anger as they grieve. I understand that.

    Thanks for writing this post about Caleb. It really did capture the man I knew and loved. I know that you are aware that I am the one who was with Caleb when he chose to leave us.

    When I go to Burning Man in a couple of weeks, I’d like to make a stop at Seattle on the way home to visit with Caleb’s friends. I intend to bring some of them to your pub in the hopes that we can share some memories too.

    Deb

    • Deb I don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t check this site very often currently as I run a business. Your perception is just that… yours and yours alone. It’s not about me, or grieving or anything at all. If you need to reach me, email thehifidelitylounge (at) gmail.com

      • I am referencing the idea that “I chose not to respond.” The reality is that this is not a place to leave messages for timely replies.

  3. I just received news of Caleb’s passing, and I am deeply saddened. My memories of him will always be fond ones, and I knew him as a very authentic, compassionate, sensitive individual in a way that stood apart from his other many unique qualities.We became friends in 1994, right after he moved to Seattle, and had remained in touch over the years and through many adventures. Unfortunately, we’d lost touch after he came through Seattle in fall ’07. I will go through the letters, pictures and postcards I have saved and remember what a privilege it was to have known him.

    elaine

  4. I just did a web search for Caleb and what a shock! He was a good friend of mine and I can’t believe he did this to himself! Thank you for your blog about him, you did a good job. I met him when he moved into the playhouse when victor had it, then caleb took over. our birthdays are 2 days apart and we liked to celebrate that when we were in the same part of the country anyway. RIP my friend Caleb. I have some pics of some of his paintings. I will always cherish them.

  5. Hi Jodi,

    Victor moved into my room originally, as I lived in the Playhouse prior to everyone you probably lived with.

    Sorry you found out this way, it’s sadly one of my most read posts this year. But, well, Caleb would want something written about him.

  6. Wow. I found out what happened to Caleb the same way Jodi did. I knew Caleb when I was an undergrad at UW. He wrote some of the funniest articles I have ever read at The Daily. We went to the “Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe” together to look at the shrunken heads, and somehow we hung out for like six or seven hours that day. I was thinking of him today and laughing because he had a home brew beer tap in the basement of the place he was renting. I am surprised by the article I read in “The Oregonian,” but like you, I knew he was internally conflicted. RIP, Caleb. I will always be thankful for how hard you made me laugh.

  7. Gentry et al;

    Sorry that we’ve all lost a good friend.

    Obviously playa time got in the way of part of my time in Seattle so I didn’t make it to your bar, Gentry. Next time.

    I want to apologize for the tone that you took to be in my earlier words. I’m just seeing your response now. I was disappointed not to have heard from you after my initial contact and having been under a great deal of stress my defenses were up and it shows in the writing. Sorry about that. It was not the intent.

    I’ve added my website link and if any others want to read, I’ve written a few articles since the spring about Caleb which may be consoling or at least informative. We held a memorial on the playa and burned a 3D plywood replica of his Samurai on Thursday evening at the burn. Many friends who had not been able to attend in the spring made a point of attending the memorial.

    This is a poem which was read there and I’m sure Caleb’s spirit smiled as we tipped some PBR and tequila for him. This poem was one of his favourites.

    By Robinson Jeffers

    Be Angry at the Sun

    That public men publish falsehoods
    Is nothing new. That America must accept
    Like the historical republics corruption and empire
    Has been known for years.

    Be angry at the sun for setting
    If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
    They are all bound on the wheel, these people, those warriors.
    This republic, Europe, Asia.

    Observe them gesticulating,
    Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the passionate
    Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
    Hunts in no pack.

    You are not Catullus, you know,
    To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar. You are far
    From Dante’s feet, but even farther from his dirty
    Political hatreds.

    Let boys want pleasure, and men
    Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
    And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
    Yours is not theirs.

  8. that lady deb is a liar.

  9. I have not stepped into the online melee of controversy between Deb Prothero and… well, Caleb’s family, close friends and the failed legal system. After reading Gentry’s post here I heard the voice of a friend expressing personal feelings he felt he probably shared with others.
    After reading both of Deb Prothero’s posts here I hear the voice of a self-promoting salesperson. I will admit that my ‘ear’ is a bit tainted from reading other forums with her grandstanding, copies of letter/emails Caleb included in letters to me to show her lunacy and gullibility, and from being a family friend.
    I can only hope that others who read this who have any sympathy for Deb Prothero will be aware of the drama and pain she causes in regards to Caleb’s memory.

    I agree with Ima Honest Bitch

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