A Good Impression

Kris Brannon, a.k.a. Sonics Guy, died on February 11, 2021, from a heart attack. He was a good friend, a loyal supporter, and a local treasure. My wife and daughter also adored him. I wrote this tribute for my Facebook page.

“You do a pretty good impression of yourself.”

This is the first line of Lunar Park, a novel by Bret Easton Ellis. I shared this line with Kris. We were having a beer at an event as we often did. Though he was almost always upbeat, he had periods of introspection.

He reveled in his role as Sonics Guy and also saw the weird side of being a public figure and, occasionally, it unsettled him. When I quoted Lunar Park, he got it and laughed.

Public figures are Rorschach tests. People project qualities onto them. As Anais Nin said, we see the world not as it is, but as we are. This is how people see public figures as well. I don’t think I talked him into reading the book, but he was intrigued Bret wrote a novel about the funhouse mirrors of fame.

In a different conversation, also over beers at an event, he confessed he sometimes thought about running for office. I said, “Thinking about it is okay. It’s like crime. Only a problem if you actually try to do it.” He never did. He was involved – he served as emcee at more of my events than I can count – but he chose to be a champion of causes rather than a candidate.

Kris did things intentionally. He chose to be generous. He chose to be upbeat. He chose to be a loyal friend.

We returned to the issue of celebrity when Kris thought he was going to be the subject of adverse publicity. I advised him what my editor – also Bret’s editor – advised me about publicity. Don’t read it. Good or bad. Kris listened and asked for a favor. I did it, of course. Later, he thanked me more effusively than was warranted, which made me wish I could do more for him.

I felt sick when I heard Kris died. Just before I flew to Jakarta in February of 2020, Chelsea and I had dinner with him. Sloane, arguably his biggest fan, joined us. Kris made her laugh.

Afterward, Kris and I agreed we would gather at Devil’s Reef with Jack Cameron when I returned from Indonesia. I owed them both drinks. Instead, Covid kicked in, the city shut down, and the dinner with Chelsea and Sloane was the last significant time I spent with Kris.

I did see him on occasion though. As I drove down 6th Avenue there he would be, walking and waving to folks and I would want to shout, “You do a pretty good impression of yourself.”