Jeff aka “Jethro” Kleinman
This guy. Has been easily one of my most amazing mentors and friends consistently throughout my life.
Look, I realize this thing called life for any self aware being starts with multiple personality disorder to the nth degree.
That’s simple logic, really.
But something about Jeff’s personality sparked an amazing man’s life that I have no doubt continues on outside of my mind. It’s not just the color or the texture of his personality – it’s that he meant something tremendous to me – and showed me the importance of lightening up.
Taking it easy. And enjoying the moment.
AS Jeff can attest to, I was a pretty uptight
ignorant naive fuck dude when we first met.
For about two years, I had been carting a woman he was seeing, Angela Sutherland, and my wife, Donna Suppes then named Donna Gregory – from Glendale, Arizona to Tempe, Arizona when Orbital was named “Space Data Corporation” and subsequently went through it’s name change and relocation to Chandler, Arizona.
My dad had helped me get my foot in the door with the company. Thank you, Dad (David Gregory)!
One night, at about the age of 20, I Jeff urged me to get out with the boys.
Now my dad had been an alcoholic much of my youth. And I had a complete… it wasn’t aversion – it was a mortal fear of alcohol. I just didn’t like the way he treated people when he was doing it, and chose not to do it myself.
So at the time, Having experimented with it when I was 14 through about 17, I quit it cold turkey when I got into a decent relationship with Donna.
Now I had been having sneaking suspicions something was going on with Donna and an affair, and considered Jeff – not really a ‘stud’ with the women – he wasn’t that – but he has such a fantastic friendliness about him – that I quite simply secretly aspired to be more like him with the way I treated relationships and my lovers.
It’s not that I saw the writing on the wall with Donna. It’s that our history had been rocky enough as it was.
And with an opportunity to hang with an average looking affable friend who was just as comfortable single as he was with a woman, I admittedly admired the guy and couldn’t help but want to be more like him and less like I was – insecure and a little self-centered.
SHOULD I find myself single, I rationalized at the time, which I really didn’t want, at least I will be prepared.
So I jumped at the opportunity.to head out with ‘the boys’
It was a wild night, and I had a great time.
On the way out of Le Girls, an all-nude club featuring – you guessed it – all nude women club, Jeff got us thrown out for acting too rowdy, and as we walked out – he threw a bottle at a car breaking it’s back window.
Was that that night? I can’t remember. There was another night I picked a fight with a bouncer. Jeff laughed as he watched me get carried out (there was never any fighting, only threat of fighting). And there was another night – yeah, I think that was the night, the first night we went out – where the world was spinning and I was in the back of his pickup truck and him and Cliff – I can’t remember Cliff’s last name – but they kept driving circles at Sky Harbor Airport.
I think I threw up. Not sure.
In any case. Jeff popped my cherry, so to speak, on letting go of the need to ‘own’ or possess a woman, and instead look at a relationship as – you’re there for a ride however long it lasts, and enjoy it for what it is – an opportunity to share.
When Donna and I hit the skids, Jeff was always there for me as a friend. We’d do barbecues on occasion, I miss those, we’d shoot the shit over nothing, play games on occasion, go out and hit a few nightclubs or bars.
Now I’d heard he was the ‘goto’ man at Orbital as a technician. What, precisely, he did, I knew he was fantastic with the engineers and typically educated them. And while he wasn’t great with the math if memory serves correct, he was great at the relationships and coordinating the efforts – which made him the leader in no time within his area.
But he bored of that, it seemed like we were on similar paths careerwise – with completely different trajectories, pardon the not so clever rocket reference there.
You see, early on, I recognized Jeff was amazing with people. And while he was working as a technician, and on our various adventures out – I always thought – he’d complain about what he did so much – that I think he’d enjoy something where he could apply his amazing people skills.
Not long after Orbital, he started up a business selling fitness equipment.
I was quite literally proud of the man. In my opinion. He deserved the success.
“The Fitness Source” – which is actually still listed as a business in Arizona.
At about this time, I was doing well consulting and contracting for various firms in Information Technology.
Over the years Jeff and I had quite the … Plethora of experiences.
Now in about November of 1997 if I remember the date correctly, Jeff invited me to a ‘big’ guys night out at a club – I can’t recall it’s name – in downtown Scottsdale.
I’d spent most of the year before working as a Consultant for Microsoft at the Mirage Hotel and Resort Casino in Las Vegas on their hotel reservation system. Consequently, a bid that was won only because of the demo I had put together three years before.
I’m homeless right now, and with my contributions to corporate America, the appreciation of getting my ass kicked to the streets does admittedly make me feel a little jaded at times.
In any case… I’d just cheated on Lisa in Las Vegas on three separate occasions.
And it was then I kept thinking “What’s wrong with me? Lisa was such a beautiful and loving woman, I was on a path of really beginning to hate who I was. Why couldn’t I stay with one woman?”
Jeff knew all about what had happened. He never really judged me on any of it. Which was refreshing.
But at this club I took a trip to the bar to gather some beers, and the girl at the bar proceeds to hit on me. Hard.
“Do women like noncommittal assholes?” was the first thing that came to mind.
Her name was Shawndelle. She was gorgeous. And her date had just dumped her and here she was hitting on me.
The crazy sexual experience with three guys and one girl I detailed in Lisa Milot Pearman’s entry, here.
But I have to be honest.
Jeff’s presence, alone, turned that entire situation away from a guilt-ridden experience with continuing down a road of self loathing – to a guilt free night that I will always remember..
Now as Lisa and I and our relationships fell apart, it seemed like Jeff’s business was nose diving as well.
Lisa and I had separated, and Jeff and his business partner, Jim Fisher, were at odds with each-other.
In hindsight, I can’t help but think maybe I was seeing my relationship with Lisa from a different angle as I heard about the drama with Jeff and his business partners – Jim and Barbara Fisher – who were husband and wife.
They were vetoing Jeff on anything he wanted to do. Unanimous decision, right? Two against one.
But Jim himself had fidelity issues and a wicked gambling problem if I remember correctly, not to mention a REAL problem with even wanting to be around the business at all.
And Barbara, she held up the financial end of things – but it was like they both couldn’t hold up their end of the business responsibilities yet anytime Jeff tried making changes, he would get overridden in this democratic farce of a business relationship.
Eventually, the business went belly up. Jeff had an amazingly beautiful million dollar home in Troon North – a beautiful area of North Scottsdale – a home he and his brother built pretty much with their own hands – and he was the general contractor.
He was and still is – last I heard – married to Rosalyn Kleinman, she runs the Good Egg franchise in Phoenix.
Now they had their home taken at Troon North – and they’d lost nearly everything he’d put his time and energy into.
I think he walked away with $150,000.00, the rest the lawyers got.
Not long after this, I ran into Jim Fisher.
He’d indicated he’d seen Lisa working as an escort.
And it seemed as though this made him think he was dominant over her… that she was dirty now, and this made him better than both me and her.
I wanted to bitch slap the guy.
I’d heard enough from Jeff to know the guy was a bit of a jerk anyways.
I’d seen it in action with his remarks on occasion and didn’t like the way the guy treated his wife, that’s for sure.
How do you tell a neanderthal you admired the woman, hell, you REVERED the woman for her OPEN SEXUALITY? How do you tell a guy she’d danced naked and topless and you’d loved it?
At that moment, I realized Jeff had made the best move.
He tried getting me into Aflac when I stopped working in information technology about 3 years ago.
Spencer hadn’t had any luck with Aflac, but Spencer was always better at information regurgitation sales than understanding people and position and customer needs sales like Jeff was.
I thought about it.
But it wasn’t long after I tried suicide.
And none of my friends, Jeff included, has talked to me since.
It sucks. As a friend, I love this guy. And his entire family. Roz, Aaron, Ashley, Shay (who I rarely saw), Colton.
To me. You were the family I never had.
And wished I still did.
I apologize about still being confused about what has happened to me and this thing called life and what’s caused every relationship I have valued in my life to completely fall apart.
Especially ours, bud.
I clearly need a woman, don’t I?
I credit Jeff for singlehandedly being responsible for helping me believe in and forgiving myself.
Even though it’s still a difficult pill to swallow.
Thank you, Jeff.
Jeff’s the guy in blue just to the right of center in this image.