My freshmen roommate in college was a kid named Phuong Tran. He and I had all sorts of comical culture shock adventures, but it ended up being an okay experience for both of us. Today, someone found my old journal, over at the diaryland site, by searching for "Phuong Tran MSU." Curious, I decided to search myself, and what should come up, but this:
Victim of Grisly Death Called Popular, Quick With a Smile.
Basically, a week or so again, a 27-year old Phuong Tran in Lansing, MI, where I went to college, was murdered, via a decapitation. His body was left in a car in his parents' driveway, and the head hasn't been found. The police don't have many leads.
I've been poring over websites for a photo, to see if it's the same Phuong Tran. I haven't found out yet for sure. God, I hope not. "Phuong Tran" is a pretty common name in the Vietnamese community, but so many details rings true - the age, the degree in a high level science, the high school in Lansing. Even the death itself wouldn't be a total shocker if it was Phuong; in college, he used to brag about how much money he gambled on the weekends. The one point in the favor of it not being him is that I'm almost positive that his e-mail address was firstname.lastname@example.org, when the victime's e-mail address was email@example.com. And, not to be too stereotypical, but how uncommon would it be that two Asian students would both be chemical engineering? If the two were both English Literature majors, then it would be more uncommon. And MSU was a big university, 48,000 strong. Some names double up.
Anyway, I'm crossing my fingers here, although I'm not sure why the death of someone I knew ten years ago and haven't seen in six or seven years would affect me more than the death of someone I didn't know at all. But we shared a very tumultuous time in our lives together, and even though I had to make a tent out of my bottom bunk to keep his nocturnal habits from affecting my sleep cycle, and even though we once had to stuff a tube of toothpaste with laundry detergent to teach him a lesson about stealing toothpaste, and even though in general he was a pretty crazy and unpredictable guy, I still feel this strange connection with the guy. He meant well most of the time, and definitely worked a lot harder than I did as a student that freshmen year in college.
If anyone actually stumbles across this blog and knows any details, I'd appreciate you filling me in. The Phuong Tran I lived with in 1995-1996 was a Lyman Briggs student in Holmes Hall. We lived in 123 West Holmes.
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