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AJ Daulerio was my colleague, and then my boss, and then my side boss, and then a friend to whom I texted “You around?” without realizing, at the exact moment that he was being cross-examined on the witness stand. So he and I go way back. I haven’t seen AJ, in person, for so many years that I’ve lost count. It could be six years. It could be a full decade. However long it’s been, it’s been too long.

In that indeterminate timespan, I’ve watched from afar as AJ lost everything, went to rehab, sobered up, moved to California, got married, had two three kids, started The Small Bow—a newsletter about trauma, to use his phrasing—and rebuilt his life. Occasionally, AJ will get emails from former Deadspin readers asking if he’s still alive. Well he is, and THAT is the subject of this week’s Distraction.

I wanna hit you with a “But wait! There’s more!” But there isn’t. Yes, I subject poor AJ to a round of Dead or Canceled. And I force him to remember Todd Pinkston. But mostly, we talked. If you go way back as a reader, some of this might be familiar and interesting to you. If not, you might get a little lost in the weeds. I apologize for that. Then again, life is always putting weeds in your path now, isn’t it?

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