I heard about Sulski before I actually met him.

That would be Jim Sulski—not that his friends, colleagues, or students called him by his full name most of the time. He was just Sulski.

Ever since Sulski died last week at 52 after fighting cancer, I’ve been trying to process all that he meant to me and my other friends who knew him. I know I still can’t get it all quite right, but in my own limited way I’m going to try. (And while I think “fighting” is way overused to describe the determination most seriously ill people can muster, if anything it’s inadequate in the case of Sulski, the most laid-back badass I’ve ever met. As I hope to explain . . .)