Not every project we undertake at Manic Expression works out. We always give it our best try, but sometimes things just don’t get off the ground. For instance – “The Couch.” This was a support group we tried to get off the ground a while back to help the many members at Manic who suffered from depression or were going through hard times. I asked our expert on all things 80s and 90s (and student of psychology) richb to lead the group. We set up a chat room for him to use, and while a couple people did show up the group folded within the first month. We gave it the old college try, but things don’t always work out.

That said, how great a guy is Rich? When I asked him if he’d lead the group he stepped up and gave it his all – not for money, not for career, but for you, his friends. Many people would have said no, saying that they’re studying to become a healer not to help others but for the big bucks that come with such an education. Not Rich. He just wanted to help.

Rich was one of the first wave of Expressionists, bringing his series 80s and 90s Central to the blog section. Examining the television from our childhoods, he gave us all a regular injection of nostalgia, a much maligned sentiment these days. Critics bemoan those of us who look back, unable to let go of the past. I think they’re missing the point. We’re the first generation who, thanks to the digital age, don’t have to let go of the things we loved. For us a show like Cheers can be watched and re-watched whenever we chose and can be discovered for the first time by someone who missed the first run.

Nostalgia serves an important function in our lives – it makes us smile. I can’t tell you how often I’d see one of Rich’s articles and be flooded with memories, sweeping me back to my childhood. Reading one of his articles, for those of us who were around when these shows first ran, can be like a little trip back in time. Suddenly I’m eight years old, sitting on my living room floor in my Superman pajamas, watching The Cosby Show. Little trips back to the past help keep us young, they keep us connected to an innocence that being an adult can rob us of.

There isn’t anyone on this site who would disagree that Rich is an all around wonderful guy. It’s people like him that keep us coming back here. Our content would have only taken us so far as a website, it’s the good hearts of our contributors that make us a community. Many people wrote heartfelt tributes when Robin Williams passed, yet I felt Rich’s Outstanding Content winning article was unique. He examined William’s career without sentiment, rightfully pointing out that not every project he chose to devote his time to was a winner. He then concluded with an honest look at depression, a condition he knew that not only Robin suffered from but also many of his friends here. He let those out there still struggling know that there was hope, and that the pain they were in was not a defect in them but a condition that can be managed.

That’s the kind of guy Rich is, and there aren’t enough of his kind out there in the world. I am proud to call him a member of this site, and I’m proud to call him my friend.

By James

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