Lessons from Skotty
I would like to thank all of you in the Steel Panthers community for giving my husband Skot Littleton so much joy through the playing of this game. It was his favorite thing to do and I know he was really good at it. He passed away on September 13, 2006 at the age of 36 from Hodgkin’s Disease. To the very end he was trying to play this game in the hospital and he made me go and buy him a laptop so he could play from his hospital bed. I would like to leave some excerpts from the eulogy I wrote, because I think he would want you to know more about him. He was the love of my life and an amazing individual. Here we go:
Skot did not waste a minute worrying about what was not important to him, and he spent inordinate amounts of time on what WAS important. He also did not need his choices on these matter sanctioned by others, and in fact was very stubborn in this area. He had a passion for military history, for computers, for gaming, for electronic gear, for sound and sound design (which was his chosen field), for his friends (online and in the flesh), for his beloved country which he served both overseas and in the United States, for his family, and for music, the more eclectic and obscure the better, unless of course it just rocked. He was an adamant man who could not stand people who were wishy washy or had no detectable core. He either liked you, it, “them” … or he didn’t. He was quiet initially, but fully cognizant of where he stood on any issue. Because he was not judgmental and did not need you to agree with him, Skot’s secure and steady stance eventually put you in a comfort zone, a familiar place, a safe place. It made you want to feel strongly about things too.
Doing things halfway was not an option for Skot. If he DID do something halfway, be assured that he was signaling to you that he didn’t really want to be in that moment … doing THAT thing. He was precise in his zeal. The thing he had the most zeal for was Steel Panthers and all of his wonderful opponents! As a matter of fact, he got ME to give up trying to make HIM give up his constant gaming in a pretty sneaky manner. I begged him not to spend so much time on the computer because I had decided I needed more attention. One day he said “Okay honey, today is your day and I won’t go near the computer all day.” and the day subsequently consisted of Skot following me around the house all day literally at my heels. He drove me absolutely CRAZY because I was busy doing what “I” wanted to do and didn’t have time for THAT much attention. By the end of the day, I was begging him to go back upstairs to beat the Nazis or the Italians or whoever he was playing. If he had held out much longer, he would have ended up with a new computer … anything to make it STOP! He taught me that day that it is good for couple to have individual hobbies. It make the time we spent together that much sweeter.
Skot’s had an amazing sense of detail that extended to people, places and things. He could hear a person’s words and sum up their character in about 2 minutes. He could and often did point out editing errors in a film within a frame that was one tenth of a second long, particularly if the error had to do with military history. I cannot count the times he would shout at the screen “Hey that was a Dutch insignia on that guy” or “Oh my God that turret is all wrong” or “That’s the damn Uzbekistan flag … they weren’t even around yet!” Meanwhile whatever it was was long out of the frame and I would stare at the screen blankly and utter the obligatory “yes Skot, I am sure you’re right.” And he always was. How does a person become so observant? And how did he translate that so beautifully into his relationships and his work? I never figured it out, but it was a blast to watch it. It is why I have such a vivid memory of our life together. Skot played it back for me every day, and kept me in the moment. He wanted me to make sure I was seeing the details of our life, and how special and precious it was. He never really forgot anything and had a recall for topics that interested him, history science, geography … that I could only marvel at. He also saw the details of people’s character, their essence, their core. He listened and or looked for the truth in music, in love, and in life by paying attention to details that most of us would skate over.
Skot was intense about what was right and wrong. He had an amazing blend of logic, common sense, and pure instinct. He was not neutral or nonchalant about anything. That is to say, if he didn’t care about something, he REALLY didn’t care about it, and he made sure you knew it. If he did care about something, it was all encompassing and a source of passion for him, and once you got to know him he would tell you about that too. While early on in our relationship I saw this is a sign of naiveté and thought he was somewhat judgmental, I learned later on that this is the most efficient way to be alive on this planet.
Between his bouts of cancer, I tried some of his reverse boot camp psychology to keep him from giving up. I told him that he needed a goal or something to strive for to want to keep living. He assured me that he did want to keep living, but for what he had already. Skot pointed out to me that he already had the house he wanted, the car he wanted, the wife he wanted, the job he wanted, the friends he wanted, the family he wanted, the record of service to his country that he wanted, and in a nutshell … the life he wanted. I sat in awed silence (for once) as I had no answer for this, but I said a silent prayer that I could be blessed and wise enough to reach that moment of revelation in my own life. Skot had contentment and inner peace dialed in for longer than I had even realized. What more can you ask for in a life? He packed it all in, and then added some extras for good measure, all without ever compromising his character. He left this earth with absolutely no regrets. He told me that verbatim many times. He had not one regret. That to me is just amazing.