[Links updated after MLE's web site was dismantled 1 Feb.]
A old friend, who once played a major role of my life, passed away a week ago. And what do you do when you lose a friend in Ireland? You have a wake. A wake that goes on for ages. In the warm atmosphere of your auld ‘local’ pub, friends and well-wishers from your past suddenly come out of the woodwork. Reminded of good times and epic adventures shared, you have a laugh, share some drinks, and reminisce.
Now whether you measure time in pints or drams, it doesn’t take long in a complex case like MLE's before someone drops the hammer and speaks to her more questionable qualities. She was eccentric. She was expensive. She lacked direction. She never came to terms with her mixed European/American ancestry. And like many creative types, it seemed like there wasn’t a man out there who could manage her (and in fact, three tried).
But, among old friends anyway, the talk of those faults invariably gives way to praise for all the good she did: the lives she touched, the dreams she realized, her unforgettable blend of creativity and smarts, and the way she employed her talents to inspire and enrich the communities around her.
In a moment’s quiet, someone ventures to remark on her early passing: what a pity she had to go before her time, what wasted potential.
So there I found myself, in McGruder’s Pub on Thomas St, again and again and again last week, until on Friday night they closed the doors and dimmed the lights on Media Lab Europe for the last time. But who am I to speak with such finality, when many much wiser than little ol' me already speak of her imminent reincarnation? MLE, may you rise as an wizened phoenix from the ashes, and learn from the hard lessons of your former life.
After all, if there was one thing that MLE stood for, it was the inevitability of change. And what greater change is there than self-improvement?