I like to write about people I know. I like to sit and think about people who are a part of my life... and then I like to talk to computer screens about them for a few hours... and then publish it on the Internet. I hope that's not weird.
Mike Rudolf is one of those people who is only ever referred to by their first and last name. He's one of those people whose name fits them so epically, that the extra time and syllables make so much sense.
We met at a house party in 2002 where my friends and I convinced him I was deaf. I used my ASL 1 + 2 college coursework to fake my way through half a night before we all left for a concert, where he ultimately found out that I was a hearing individual. It was still okay to play those kinds of jokes back then.
Our friendship grew over texts, emails, iMessages and phone calls. Over the years he'd visit me in Chicago and we'd shop, eat, laugh, prank and work together in the easiest of capacities. As our friendship grew, he quickly became a person who I trusted with my thoughts, my feelings and most importantly my business.
Mike Rudolf is my kind of people because he loves a good laugh. We both love an outlandish story. We know what it feels like to have some really good highs and we both know what it's like to feel the lows. We relate. We relate on levels that hit you at the core and when we spend time talking with each other we always hang up knowing that the mutual care and respect we have for each other is solid, it's important.
Outside of our fun friendship, Mike Rudolf has been a creative force that has driven to me to learn more about branding, building a business and creating beautiful design. He has imagineered almost all of the print and design products at the stores and he is my personal walking Pinterest board.
Only briefly in our 15 year friendship have we lived in the same state. He (much more of a mover and shaker than I, a front runner for Ms. Chicago) has always been open to opportunity found in places that will get him one step closer to his next big goal.
I know a lot of creative people, but I only know a handful that have been so helpful and invested in the things that I've tried to create. MR has always made me feel like what I am doing and building is as important as whatever Fortune 500 company project he's currently working on. He shares my vision, and without much explanation, can always hit the nail right on the head, especially when I've given him a virtually impossible task. He gets me.
Outside of myself and my business, I don't know anyone who dedicates themselves to a job well done more than Mike Rudolf. His company loyalty, the hours he devotes to his projects and work, his ability to not quit until it's right, it's rare.
I can think of many nights where MR has left his job only to go home and help me with mine. It would be easy for him to tell me no, but he never has. He has always helped me, regardless of how tired, worn out, or spent he has been.
His thoughtfulness and dedication to what I have devoted my life to has been irreplaceable. His friendship, honesty and directness has helped me become a better person when it come to relationships, friendships and business.
When people used to tell me the mark of true friendship is being able to go long bouts of time not speaking, and then being able to pick up right where you left off, I always thought to myself that was kind of bullshit. But that's how my relationship with Mike Rudolf has always been -it's easy and it doesn't skip a beat.
I've never had a brother, but always thought I needed one. Brothers tell you what sisters won't. Brothers are protective in a way that they still let you make the mistake but give you a good warning ahead of time. Brothers are going to tell you when that guy is just not that into you, they're going to poke fun at your comical mistakes, they're going to know their limits and they're unconditional. I can't think of anyone in my life who comes closer to filling that spot.
MLR, I think you're a stunning human. I think you're kind and I think you're always fair. I think that in the time we've known each other you have made me a much better person. I think that you are stronger than you probably know and much braver than you give yourself credit for. I think your thrift store finds are uncanny, I think your taste in music and culture is superb and I think your style is unparalleled. As I was working tonight I saw your name pop up on my Spotify feed and I just thought that I would take a minute to tell you that I'm very grateful for all that you've done for me. A 'Thank You' will probably never suffice but I hope that you know how much I value you, your friendship, and every early release album that you've ever sent to me! You've helped make my life a little more full.
And before I end this, I just want you to remember that time that we thought a crave case at White Castle at 1am was a good idea. It wasn't.
Hashtag totally blessed. <3
The best b-day card I've ever received: a Mike Rudolf 30 things that rule card! He drew 30 Zach Morris' - That's friendship, right there.