If I were to get clever with words, I might say that my friendship with Tim Cuprisin would have made a good sitcom: Inside a bustling Milwaukee newsroom, the seasoned media columnist winds up sitting next to the staff writer who doesn't own a television, but despite being on different channels, they become good friends.
(Insert laugh track here.)
During the two years I spent as Tim's desk neighbor we burned a lot of time bantering, dissecting everything from Bart Simpson to backyard projects, and dueling our wits (his much sharper than mine), but right now, the words that come to mind are more simple and straightforward than they are clever.
Tim was super smart. He was funny. He was a great listener. He poked fun of me. I miss him.
Yesterday was Tim's memorial service, a beautiful tribute to his life, and long-time friends and family members told stories that were both deeply touching and hilarious. They all knew Tim a lot longer than I did, and yet, I realized my Tim stories are similar to theirs.
As an adoptive mom of a Latin son, a resident of racially diverse neighborhoods and a writer who often covers LGBTQ issues, it was completely funny and appropriate that Tim referred my desk as "The Rainbow Desk" and aptly gave me the nickname "Rainbow." After I admitted to him my history of following the Grateful Dead in high school (I held off on sharing this detail for a while knowing he was going to have a HEYDAY with it), he said, after a booming laugh, that he was even more sold on my "Rainbow" nickname.
However, when we proposed a nickname for him, there was no booming laughter. Bobby Tanzilo jokingly came up with the nickname "T-Cup" for him, based on his first and last name, while we were drinking around a campfire during one of OnMilwaukee.com's famous "Up North" retreats at Andy Tarnoff's cabin. However, when we told him about our new pet name for him, he paused, blinked and said, "I don't think so."
During the past couple of months, even though Tim was very ill, and getting weaker by the week, he continued to ask me questions about my new house or whether or not I had tried the goat at a restaurant in my neighborhood that he loved or if my son had finally decided to wear real pants instead of sweatpants only.
Sitting next to the media guy had its perks, for sure. Tim passed onto me stacks of films, from top picks from the Milwaukee Film Festival to incredible nature programs that my kids adored to television show compilations. But the best part of getting hand-me-down media from Tim was getting to hear his thoughts about it. Whenever I watched something he gave to me, I was really excited to return to the office to chat with him about it – I wanted to hear what he had to say because often our conversations about media led to conversations about life. (I shared things with Tim about my personal life that surprised me).
There's no doubt that Tim helped people make sense of their worlds. I was not the only one who felt this way. Recently, I heard him take a call from a former colleague who called him out of the blue to get his advice regarding a job he was considering.
"You take that job and you might as well have taken a job at Blockbuster," Tim said.
Harsh? Yes. Honest? Yes. From a caring place? Hell, yes. This guy called up Tim for career advice for the same reason I rushed to work to find out what he thought about this film or that. Because he knew that Tim was paying attention when we shared aspects of our lives, that Tim's take was fair and that Tim Cuprisin truly gave a sh*t.
(Insert laugh track here.)
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.