He really wore that sometimes.
Nic Stoffle, “Quantum Nic,” was a difficult person to track down. Very friendly, well-meaning, but rare. Everyone could remember seeing him around recently, but he wasn’t ever actually there when you needed him. A physicist, he was perpetually at UH working on something or other related to education. He was president of the Fencing Club the year before me, and cemented the popular opinion that the club president almost never showed up to practice. I think he just wrote checks.
I was team captain that year, so we were both tasked with running the club. A previous president aptly compared leading fencers to trying to herd ducks: they make a lot of noise, wander off incessantly, and sometimes manage to hurt each other. He backed me up the following year, when I was president, once helping me keep the team from getting kicked out of an entire hotel complex on one particularly stressful night.
Nic taught me the basics of self defense, the basics of knife fighting, the basics of kendo, and the basics of handgun maintenance. He had a closet dedicated to weaponry and would have had a black belt if he’d taken the last test. He once let me go to his place just to be able to play Shadow of the Colossus on his 50″ tv. The last party I attended in his apartment involved him scorching all the hair off one of his arms while making a complicated mixture of alcohol and other ingredients called “glog.”
He went to Florida to get married and then came back. He and his wife have two cats, one of which is named “Pawsitron.” Nowadays I can call and leave a message on his phone and usually receive an answer a week or two later saying he’d just heard it and would like to hang out some time. That sort of vicious cycle can wear down on the spirit rather quickly.