Sunday around 11 o’clock Joe Auffenberg walked out of his home and into the frigid February night. He stepped into a crosswalk, was hit by a car and was killed. The driver remains at large. Joe was 50 years old.
But I’m not here today to talk about the tragic and untimely death of Joe Auffenberg. I’m here to talk about his life.
Now I’m no expert on Joe, I only knew him these past two years, but this much I do know:
Joe could usually be seen with the daily newspaper under his arm. He was well-read and never shy about offering his opinion on the news of the day.
Joe would often borrow my pen to work the puzzles in the paper. He always looked me up later to return the pen. Not everyone would do that.
Joe loved sports. He loved to talk about the Cardinals, the Rams and the Blues. I would smile and nod and pretend I knew what he was talking about.
Joe loved Target. Partly to look at greeting cards and magazines, but mostly for the Starbucks inside. He would order a coffee of some sort and usually a muffin. He probably wasn’t supposed to eat that muffin, but I just assumed it was sugar-free and let it go.
Joe did not love Barack Obama.
Joe loved bowling. “Who’s going bowling today?” and “Do you have the bowling group?” were the first things Joe would say to me on bowling day. Joe was a good bowler and a fierce competitor — because winning meant a free soda.
When regular bowling wasn’t available, Joe loved to bowl on the Wii video game system. Once he got the controller it could be a challenge to get it back. We eventually just let Joe bowl last and let him go until it was time for lunch or time to go home.
Joe loved to shred paper. Joe was a paper-shredding machine. In fact, the real paper-shredding machine often gave out before Joe.
Joe’s favorite karaoke song (or at least the one he seemed to sing the most) was “Son of a Preacher Man.” I always wondered why he’d pick that song week after week but I never asked. The most poignant moment I remember from karaoke was the day Joe sang “You Lift Me Up” in honor of his recently deceased mother.
Joe’s funeral service will take place Saturday morning. I plan on stopping by Target afterward for a cup of coffee. Maybe a muffin. Sugar free, of course.