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In memory of Phil Clippinger (June 3, 1977 to September 26, 2009)
I first met Phil Clippinger not long after entering university. I was sitting outside Oglethorpe House, attempting to console a friend, Merlin, who was sobbing on my shoulder when Phil came by. Phil was a mutual friend of Merlin and proved to be much more adept at consoling him than I was: immediately after hearing Merlin’s trouble, Phil offered one of his quintessentially witty insights into the situation, Merlin and I both broke out laughing and, voila, situation resolved. It was in this way that during my first contact with Phil I was able to see an aspect of him that all of his close friends and family know, yet one that he was always reluctant to show to those outside of this circle: his abiding respect and heartfelt concern for those who were privileged enough to number among those he called friend. I remember once that Phil told me that he doesn’t believe in giving gifts to friends just because of a special occasion, but rather in giving gifts to people for the sole reason of finding something that would make them happy. Being able to call Phil a friend and likewise being called a friend by him has truly been an honor.

Phil was a lover and student of many things, and even the word “many” at that may be an understatement. However, most of these loves, from science fiction and mythology to gaming and philosophy, while seeming eclectic, shared a common theme: the discovery and exploration of the unknown. Phil was an empiricist in the truest sense of the word: his beliefs were all founded first and foremost in his own experiences. What he experienced firsthand, then tested, and tested again formed the core of what he accepted as fact. To this he would add the experiences of his friends, yet never without first asking insightful questions to make sure that things were in fact as the friend had experienced. Despite this, and its initial appearance of incongruity, he was also deeply interested in the numinous world and embraced his ability to delve into the unknown with the innate fascination of a child. This rich imagination, tempered by his esoteric knowledge in a myriad of fields, has made for a considerable number of memorable discussions, gatherings, and games and is likewise something for which he will always be remembered.

Apart from his quest for discovery, Phil also pursued some more worldly pleasures: pizza, beer, Diet Coke, and cigarettes. These were his response to having the unfortunate hat trick of narcolepsy, insomnia, and diabetes. Despite the difficulties these illnesses caused, Phil managed to turn them, at times, to his own advantage: many of his more interesting ideas and storylines were born in bouts of sleeplessness. He often joked that his appreciation of beer and cigarettes stemmed from the desire to have a potential medical condition of his own choosing. Diet Coke was his beverage of choice as it was both sugar- and caffeine-free, while pizza was chosen simply because, in a strictly empirical sense, Phil knew it to be damn good food. I dare say that most everyone who knew Phil has shared either a pizza or a conversation about it with him… pizza was a veritable part of Phil’s life.

Phil, of course, will naturally continue to be a part of our lives. He will be with us in each moment of discovery we experience, in each fleeting moment that we catch a glimpse across the Veil, and in each opportunity we take to explore the question, “What if?” By remembering him at these times, we pay tribute to him and the impact he made in our lives. Phil has already started a new journey into the deep unknown and, while reveling in the answers he has now found, is already formulating questions about the deeper mysteries beyond. We wouldn’t expect anything less.

Phil, you once told me that one of your favorite endings to a movie was the last line of Ghost in the Shell, and I feel it apt to quote it here: “The net is vast and infinite.” Phil, you now have a different vast and infinite net to explore. Do with it what you will and we will see you on the other side. Godspeed.

Frank Pridgen
September 27, 2009

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No better words have been written about him Frank

Thanks for writing this beautiful memory.

Thank you

Thank you for that spot on tribute.

Ted Hitch

I remember all the great times I had with Phil. I can still remember the first time I saw him. He was sitting on the tables outside Creswell, smoking a cigarette, drinking a Diet Coke and talking about something called "Rifts" :)

I was instantly impressed by how vibrant Phil was. Phil really opened my eyes to what a big world there was in the power of imagination. I consider myself a better person for having known Phil, and I know that I will miss him.

Brian Waters

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