Witty beyond belief at times, shockingly crude and crass at others, the comments section dude whose real name was Marti Dolinar was a piece of work. And as I pointed my Fiat Abarth towards the highway heading to the smartman’s funeral, Lynryd Skynyrd’s Free Bird began to play.
If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now,
‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.
But, if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.
‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I can’t change.
Bye, bye, its been a sweet love.
Though this feeling I can’t change.
But please don’t take it badly,
‘Cause Lord knows I’m to blame.
Could that have been an accident?
I listened reverently, then drifted off into the many colorful memories Dolinar and smartman left behind. His services were held at the stately brick Catholic church in the ultra quaint hood smartman grew up on Strawberry Hill. Humble beginnings to the 10th power.
However, I couldn’t quite get over wondering what exactly it was that lead to Dolinar’s death at age 52. That he somehow went from “nursing a sore leg to knocking on Death’s door.”
Enter longtime Dolinar pal Jody Paul.
Paul worked with Dolinar over the years as a production and sound and lights staffer at the Uptown and elsewhere and the two remained close right up until the end.
And when smartman checked out two weeks back Paul was at his side.
Here’s how it went down…
“He had a hematoma, which is a fancy name for a bruise,” Paul says. “You know how Marty was, he got mad at his recliner and he slammed down on it and got a bruise on the back of his calf. And he went to see the doctor and they did an MRI and he was supposed to go back on that Wednesday and I called and called him that day, but no answer.
“Finally (his girl) Sherry called me and said his dad was over there and he was on the floor passed out and they took him to St. Lukes. They told us that when he fell and hit his head he had a heart attack and the bruise turned septic and it spread to his heart and infected his bloodstream.
“And it just got to the point where he just really wasn’t there any more. They were keeping him alive. Nothing was working on its own anymore. And so they asked us what to do – Marti’s dad, me and Sherry – and we said, ‘Well, just unhook him.’ ”
Could it have been avoided?
“Absolutely,” Paul says. “The doctors told me if I had made him come in the Saturday before, none of this would have happened. Marti died at 3:45 p.m. that Wednesday. The infection killed him, but they could have killed the infection if he’d gone in earlier. But you know how Marti was; he was hard headed and he self medicated a lot. I tried to get him to go to the doctor Saturday night, but he wouldn’t do it.”
The smartman’s last words?
“Bud, there was none,” Paul says. “Because when his dad found him he was already unconscious and he wasn’t breathing.”
The smartman’s unexpected and radical exit from life’s stage reminded me of the Tolstoy novella I read in high school, “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”
There’s so much more to this amazing tale, but in a nutshell a 45 year-old high court judge slips on a step ladder while hanging drapes and bangs his side against the window frame. Thinking nothing of it, Ilyich goes about his life only see the insignificant injury slowly grow from a slight discomfort into a life or death battle that he eventually loses.
I stumbled onto this comment smartman left for Paul Wilson last May.
“Nice to see you and Mr. Sutherland classing up the place. It’s like going into the bathroom at the Fying J and having all the graffiti replaced with Kierkegaard quotes.Taking a whiz while reading “Life can be only understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards” is a big change from ‘harley can’t satisfy me, I’m in the white Nissan Altima in the parking lot’ XOXO”
He will be missed.