Sadly, we will not be hearing any more comments from our dear friend Spoonie.
Cause And Effect
by Charles Bukowski
The best often die by their own hand
just to get away,
and those left behind
can never quite understand
would ever want to
Kris (Spoonie G) Krall
Feb 22, 1961 – April 3, 2008
What is one to say when they receive a voice mail from someone they haven’t spoken to in years, informing them that their dear friend is dead? How is one to feel?
Denial. If this is another one of your cute little jokes, we’re just gonna have to kick your ass.
Anger. Damn you Spoonie, we were always here for you! Why did you hide your true feelings? We just spoke last week and you were in such good spirits.
Surprise. You’ve been down that path of self destruction before. Far enough that this was expected, but that was long ago.
Guilt. Why couldn’t we help? How did we not know?
Grief. We will miss you. We’ll miss your smile. Your eyes. Even your phone calls at the most obnoxious hours. Damn how we will miss you.
Acknowledgement. At least you went quickly in your sleep, as opposed to some prolonged disease. Rest in peace you fat bastard.
Some people come into your life, and things are never the same again.
I look around at everything I’ve become, my world, my happiness, my husband, my adventures . . . and for all of these things, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to this big teddy bear. We spoke almost weekly, but I know I didn’t tell him often enough how much he meant to me.
Spoonie and I became roommates in 1992, during my 20-something party years in San Francisco. His easygoing personality made him the intermediary in roommate wars, the guy that nobody could get mad at. In 1995, he wanted to play matchmaker between me, and a new guy in his office, some long haired guy named Jim. Of course, his ulterior motive was to get me to move out so he could take over my room, the best one in the house. Six months after he brought Jim and I together at The Gold Cane, Spoonie got his wish.
He was easy to love, which made it incredibly hard for us to watch him walk down a path of self-destruction. Now that he is gone, I’m trying really hard not to be angry at him for leaving us far too soon. For whatever it is that caused him so much pain in life that he had to bury it in bad habits, I am glad that he is now free of those heavy burdens, smiling and hanging out with his buddy Timothy Leary, somewhere in the City.
Easy to love indeed … There was just something about this big lug that made you wanna laugh, or get drunk, or both. Spoonie was the most fun-loving, happy-go-lucky character I’ve ever met.
I often got on his case about sucking off the government teat, whenever he would ride out his unemployment to the max. But deep inside, a small part of me was always jealous of his free spirit and uncanny ability to eschew responsibility.
And I too owe this wonderful man a debt of gratitude. For without him, I would never have met René. Nor would I have known to “just keep her vertical” when she gets to drinking too much. That was his sage advice for me the night we went drinking for the first time.
There were many more after that, but it was always in good fun. I never saw how bad it got after his mother passed away a few months ago.
Anarchist. Atheist. Adorable. Kristopher was an avid reader. Of everything from Marx to Tolstoy. But Bukowski was one of his favorites. And there are a few beliefs of Charles’ which I know for a fact he embraced:
- “Never get out of bed before noon.”
- “Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.”
- “Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”
Oftentimes, the simplest things he said had such deep meaning. Like, “I love you Jimmy.” I love you too my friend.
This gentle giant was a genius indeed. His only fault was that he followed in his hero’s footsteps a bit too closely.
“There will always be something to ruin our lives, it all depends on what or which finds us first. We are always ripe and ready to be taken. ”
– Henry Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994)
A more recent photo of Kris holding Tom’s son Zach.
Another shining example of that infectious smile.
Update 04/09/08: An old friend and co-worker just sent this apparent self portrait Spoonie must have done long ago during his FWB days.
It was accompanied by a note about what a free spirit Kris was and how this illustration, “really captures him.” Indeed …
82 thoughts on “R.I.P. Spoonie Gee”
Sorry renew did my recent post go thru? From just a minute ago
Yes, we just approved it. Thank you.
Idk you but I knew kris for years. I was his neighbor. I have tried for yrs to find him and heard at class reunion he passed. This hurts my heart as he never ever smoke, drank or did drugs as long I knew him. I just found this sight yesterday. We set a place for kris at our reunions as he passed. I will always remember playing basketball in his backyard and his dad yelling at us to be nice. Kris was an awesome friend then. I never evrt thought he would wind up in sf or pass early. He was a sad soul but also very cold like. I finally know where he is and what happened. I will always have fond memories of him. Idk if this will even post but it eases my heart to have finally him.
Patricia, thanks for sharing your good memories of Kris, they made me smile. We think of him often and still feel his presence in our life. Hang onto those moments you shared, he was one of a kind.
Yesterday was Kris’ birthday. I posted some great pics sent to us, if you want to see them please see this post. And if you want to add your own I’m happy to include them in this slide show.
Thanks for your responses. Did you get all of the pics of Kris that I sent? I didn’t hear back from you so just wondering….
Wow. I’m balling over here. As I lay awake from insomnia I just decided to do a google search for my old boyfriend Kris. I think I found more than I wanted to.
I met Kris at Rockin’ Robins in 1985? 86. He was a bouncer and I a cocktail waitress. We hit it off immediately. He had a girlfriend (Laura I think) but things were rocky between them and he said they were in the process of breaking up. Kris and I were a together for about a couple of years and stayed friends after I had my daughter from another man in 1989 for which Kris used to say he wanted to take the place of her absent father. I called him my “wookie”. He used to ride on the back of my scooter and the other guys at the bar would tease and laugh at this big 6’4″ guy holding onto me for dear life. I felt as if I had to stick up for him often being the gentle “wouldn’t hurt a soul” kinda guy he was.
Wyatt….do you remember me? I lived on Masonic off of Haight. Kris spent most of the nights with me at my place in those days. It’s when he lived on Belvedere.
Anyway, needless to say I’m crying my eyes out over here. Kris and I discussed marriage on many occasions but I would tell him that he needed to get his shit together and stop partying so much. I loved him dearly. When he told me some of his friends had nicknamed him Spoonie G I just giggled saying “ok Hun…whatever”.
I need to know. Did he commit suicide or did he OD on drugs? This is killing me over here. Plz respond.
I have several pics if you are interested. Shoot me an email and we’ll chat. I only check my email about once a week so bare with me if I don’t get back to you right away.
With tears in my eyes, Tawny
Tawny I’m so sorry you found this before you knew. Kris enjoyed sharing lots of stories about when he worked at that place, he had a blast. He and I were roommates together on Belvedere too, but years later at 21 Belvedere right at Haight. He was a big wookie indeed, we all miss him dearly. No, it wasn’t drugs or intentional suicide that ended his life. Yes, we would love to see the pics. I will contact you via email. -Rene
Kris I was told by the person that found him had cut his wrists 3’weeks before he drank himself in a month after his mother past away. I am sorry if this is a shock to anyone. There was a small trace of heroin in him is what i was told. He would of loved the people in aa as he loved people. He was basically on suicide watch by a fellow alcoholic friend. He had also witnessed a friend olverdose I believe at his apartment. I am told his father died right around them too, but I believe it was after kris passed away as we were very close. He wanted to visit right around the time he attempted suicide but it was late and I believe I thought he was drunk. Kris deserved a better life like a lot of people, but he treated people very well. I love reading and writing about him and am just talking about him more. Kris lived more than a lot of people he just wanted to escape and so he did. I love him and don’t have to be mad at people for not being him. He taught me how to love people and myself even when they are not alive and to be grateful. My son still remembers him we’ll and we owe him one for making the word buttranger part of our family language.
I am Kris’ nephew and through all the years since his passing, I have never known about this site. I was listening to a song today that I reminded me of the last time I saw him and just had flashbacks of all the wonderful things that we did. The one thing that I am requesting is if anybody has any good pics of Kris to please send them to me so his great nephew, Silas Kristopher, could have pictures of him as he grows up to at least see the person he was named after. Thank you much.
Please send any pictures to email@example.com Subject: Kris
We’re glad you found this post Zakk. Please feel free to use any of these pictures as you wish. Thanks for the comment
Zakk, I’m sorry for your loss. When he first moved to San Francisco he and I became best friends. We worked at Levi Strauss near fisherman’s wharf and had both just left the US Air Force. I invited him to move in with me and we became very close. As a friend of ours said, he was like an oak tree…ever present , loving, beautiful, and totally accepting of everyone around him. Although he was totally straight he was the first person who accepted me enough to make me feel like I could tell him I was gay. He made me feel like not only was it okay to be gay but I should be proud of it. He was the ultimate San Francisco cat. I definitely have a lot of photos of him from 1980 to 83 but I need to scan them in to get them to you. -Wyatt
Hi! Zakk – I dated Kris in high and my first two years of college. (1978-1981). We spoke occasionally over the years but reconnected our close friendship after my divorce in Jan 1999. He was a remarkable human being — kind and caring and humorous. 🙂
I have a few pictures of him from high school and a couple from when he was in the air force – but would also have to scan them in. I have an album titled Kris on my facebook page (you would have to friend me there to be able to copy them). I am listed under Brenda Tucker-Messmer in Quincy, IL.
I would love to have some copies of the pics that Wyatt has. I met Wyatt (and awesome fellow) when I was made a trip during my Junior year of college (I think 1982) to see him in San Fransisco.
I saw Kris again in I think 2003 when I had a training class for work in San Francisco. I had plans to visit him and Jim Vinyard (who introduced me to Kris) the summer of the year he died but he passed before making that ‘reunion’ trip – I believe that was the year Justin Polette got married.
So how are you related to Kim and Joe Polette; Kim is friends with me on facebook. She called me and told me about his passing — I think about almost everyday and remember the wonderful times we had – in high school he wasn’t just my boyfriend he was my best friend. I often wonder what life would be like if we hadn’t went our separate ways….. Some days it is still hard for me to comprehend that he is gone… he holds a special place in the hearts of those who got to know him and I believe we are all better people for having had that blessing.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I emailed Zakk last night about some pics that I also have, but I woke up this morning thinking that it would be great to start a wall or central place where we could all post, view & share photos of Kris. I’m not sure where to go with that, but I know I’d love to see pics from other eras of his life that he always talked about.
When Jim and I were in Missouri last Fall, we purposely made a trip to Festus to take a look at this little town that Kris split from so many years ago. We walked the one, unremarkable main street, stopped in the dankier of the two smoky bars and had a drink in his honor.
We still think about him all the time and miss him tremendously. He often appears in my dreams when I’m transported back to my days in the Haight, and he tells me everything’s cool where he is. It’s comforting.
I was one of Kris’ roommate on Arguello Street in San Francisco and he was one amazing guy. He had the biggest heart. I can still remember stories he told me about working for the hippie company Abacus and just all the weird random stuff that happened when we all lived together. I was glad I got to know him and so sad to see him go.
I think of Kris everyday. I thought at one point I was ok with things. There’s this person that reminds me of Kris and I think I just have to get him out of my life altogether because it’s just causing too much grief. No one will be like Kris. He said one time that the only time he ever saw me cry in the 12 years we knew eachother that it deeply affected him because I never seemed to cry about anything, but now I still cry most nights it seems thinking about him and of course I think about him saying that and it sets me off. Sometimes I don’t even know if I’m deeply that sad when it seems like there’s a lot to be happy about in life. I guess I feel like there is no one like him.
Was thinking of Kris again, guess I was really tired in the last post. Anyways, just wanted to say I love the stories about Kris below they never fail to crack me up to tears. I’ll always miss the guy , but hopefully I can take on some of his all loving ways and don’t sweat life attitude. Kris liked to read books about war, more so about people. He was thoughtful about his dad fighting in Japan, his brother in Vietnam, and his other brother being nearly beaten to death by a pig in Ohio while protesting. Kris would share stories about flippin cop cars over and setting them on fire during the Gulf War protests, while at the same time we know he had respect for people and life. He was a riot when our other bipolar roomate invited her whole Mormon church over for a barbeque and we spied on them from the back windows and he made comments about them. He initially came home from the liquor store and acted like he was going to crash their party saying “I got the milk” and looking at one of the tall ones and saying, “I like a guy I can see eye to eye with.”
One thing he said after reading a book about Russian torture and I’d imagine it was something about the Russo-Japanese war was that the Japanese believe a person has three hearts, one that they wear when they’re going to the store to buy a pack of smokes or whatever, one that they have for the friends they can count on one hand, and one that they save for their soul mate.
The world would be a better place if we all did.
Been thinking so much about you been really grieving. Anytime I feel sad or unsure about life, or hurt, I think of you. This has been the first time that I truely feel alone.
I have people interested in the same goals and you would love what I’m trying to do these days, like start a civil rights movement against child abuse specifically residential and more religious based cults and programs, particularily in the south. working on education and advocacy of these issues with CAFETY. Funny how I right this to you like you’re gonna look it up and really when i write I’ll tell you about a month ago I saw someone like you and still my mind think theres been a mistake. I’ve just never met anyone like you and now being in the rooms all i can remember is times where it feels like you were sober I don’t hardly remember the bad times.
There’s just no one like you, i was thinking the other night all the funny things youd say spontaneously and then other things youd say everything you said was always in good light or me or in good humor, I don’t think anyone will make me feel like they carry the torch for me like i felt you did, i guess that’s how you respected. People i could say a million things about the things you said, cause no one was a deep sweet thinker like you.
i finally opened up about you and the deaths, suicide of a roomate and death of a friend’s child, which all happened in about year and while it just opened up all this sadness again, I also feel like i was vulnerable in talking about it and centered.
I know I grieved heavily during that whole time, but i’ve always just tried to fill my life to forget and now I’m finally saying being a co dependent all the time to people that don’t care for me is not working out, and so now I’m on my own and learning how to live that way. I was happy with it for awhile and then my advocacy work started to get to heavy with feelings and stories and issues from others. Last weekend I went to a convention for survivors of abuse in residential care, and I know so much now about those things, we had a memorial for hundreds of people some i knew and siblings of friends, that died inside, and some form suicide after, It was more than I could deal with.
In any case, I see great things happening , the social change youd like to see, and we are focused on your home state too, because of the faith based no licensing requirements in much of the south. it’s the only way I feel really challenged in life but on the same hand i have hardly had any sleep the last month and then started thinking about you, had to put my love for you out there, cause i saw another tall boy that reminds me of you,quiet, thoughtful, bit of country boy, prob a reader like you,. and I realized no ones ever going to take your place, so i might as well just be myself and talk about the real shit on my mind cause what do I have to lose.
so tonight i just broke down starting crying started feeling bad about my kids crying sometimes, today was baz’s birthday and he made some jokes about not wanting me there, but I just thought why push it, but i missed him a lot really. i tired to get him to talk about you last night and he wouldn’t cuz he said it would make him sad. guess that’s why i ve never talked about you in detail about what you were like, but maybe ill start doing that if i can get it together, you just weren’t like anyone else, always there for me, so comfortable to be around.
I wish youd been there my whole life, cuz I think this is just it and I need to realize this might just be it. even tall boy is nice and gave me a hug after i shared about you, but i just figure i’m in pain about so many things who’d want to be with my lame busy ass. i went with a jerk for awhile, had to edit my first description of him, since this goes public, but yeah “jerk” very disturbed abused and emotional abusive human being, got in too deep, but anyways.
I know life will get better, trying to be stronger and not care about little mix ups and things like that and take accountability in things, but sometimes, life is just challenging regardless, especially without a good friend like you, everyone i really love seems to enjoy killing themselves except my kids. well maybe I can save someone, certainly couldn’t lose a friend again,
I wish you were around to give me on of your big hugs with big Czech nose of yours and smile, still can’t believe you’re gone sometimes, makes me really sad, sometime i’ll write all the incredible things i can remember that you said, should get a little rest, but what you did say was always much more thoughtful and fragile then what I could think of or express, i miss your saying or things you read and related, errrrr, maybe ill take up tolsky and some of your other reads,i think you said i was a marxist or had hit just the tip of his thinking, maybe he knows my friend Kris and i’ll check him out. love you chris, always forever, miss you err, can’t cuss, just miss you forever, hope someday we are together again, shit! sorry if i spelled your name wrong at all through this, “it’s kris, with a mutha f in K!” – yeah I got it.