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RIP: Lucas Dunn

The former TLO contributor passed away earlier this week.

Last night, I received sad word that Lucas Dunn – a former TLO contributor, podcaster, and all-around decent human being – left this world at the young age of 40.

As I wrote on Twitter, Lucas was a gentle, kind, and tender soul:

From about 2014 to 2021, Lucas authored over 400 articles on this site.

From outlining the 5 Stages of an Oklahoma Winter Weather Panic to providing a list of 7 Historical Buildings That Deserve To Be An On-Cue to perfectly encapsulating the odor of blooming Bradford Pears – "smells like rotten fish & cum" – he made sure our readers were informed and entertained about the state of local affairs.

Lucas actually got his start with TLO writing a weekly feature about the Thunder back in 2015 or so.

From there, he was “promoted” to a weekly columnist and provided the typical TLO mix of listicles, quick-hitting think pieces, and riffs on local news. He also handled some mundane busy work duties like overseeing Ogle Madness brackets and Year-End features.

When I started dabbling in podcasting about five years ago, Lucas made frequent guest co-host appearances, providing an excellent ying to my disturbing yang. He also got his own short-lived OKC food podcast, Free Queso, off the ground with Judie Gandul. Like lots of good things, it was done in by the pesky global pandemic.

Whether we were yucking it up at a Thunder game, the old Red Rooster, or the Whole Foods seafood counter where he worked as a fishmonger, I’ve had plenty of good conversations with Lucas over the years. My favorite memory, though, is a weird and funny one.

In 2019, following a TLO holiday bowl-a-thon at Dust Bowl, Lucas, Louis, Louis’s annoying ex-girlfriend, and I hopped over to Ludivine 2.0 for some post-game drinks.

As we circled around a small, low-lying cocktail table, our tipsy conversation turned to a discussion about cultural appropriation. As Lucas embarked on a soliloquy that criticized the act, Louis – a stroke survivor drunk on whiskey – stammered up and roaringly slurred something to the effect of “You woke hypocritical sonuvabitch!” and made a stumbling lunge in Lucas’s direction!

Lucas shrunk into his chair like Homer going back into the bushes. I quickly jumped up – confused by what was happening – and got Louis to sit back down.

Lucas, albeit a tad puzzled and rattled, handled the situation like a total pro. He asked Louis what he said or did to offend him and explained he wanted to learn and listen, which is exactly what he did for the next five minutes.

Although they didn't go back to his apartment and play Sega NHL Hockey like they were in Swingers, Lucas handled the situation about as coolly and wisely as one could.

I learned two key things from the now comical experience.

1) Never give Louis whiskey

2) Descalation is far superior to escalation

Well, at least that's what I should have learned.

In 2021, Lucas and I had a little spat during an event I call Carlygate.

I made a stupid joke on Twitter about Stitt’s old She-Troll Carly Atchison that referenced a derogatory word for females that’s quite common in movies and on cable television, especially if they were produced across the pond in England.

Although I didn’t straight out write the word, and the whole point of the joke was that you should never call a woman that word (unless they were Carly Atchison), the woke, liberal, and sensitivity-conformity wing of the Twitterati grabbed their torches and broomsticks and came after me. Lucas – a high-ranking member of the group’s cyclist wing – joined in.

Angered by my words and rightfully upset by how they reflected on him, he went full Festivus and commenced with a public airing of grievances about me and TLO on Twitter. I didn't take it well, and as opposed to being cool about it, and learning and listening, I went full Patrick hot-head, escalated it, and – yada yada yada, blah blah blah – Lucas was no longer a TLO contributor.

Back in September, I ran into Lucas at Bunker Club before the Broken Social Scene show at Tower Theatre. A hardcore movie buff, he was hosting Mondo Mondays – a weekly movie screening of a weird and unusual film he selected.

We went outside to the patio and while he smoked a cigarette, happily caught up and patched things up. “Water under the bridge,” we agreed. Before I hurried down the street to the show, he suggested we meet up for lunch or drinks and continue our conversation. I thought that was a great idea and said, “Let’s do it.”

As is way too common in this stupid high-traffic world where we try to cram 24 hours into what feels like a 12-hour day, neither Lucas nor I followed up and scheduled those drinks. It’s a sad fact that’s really tearing me up right now, but I do find comfort that we were at least able to chat, albeit briefly, and make some amends.

Lucas is survived by his long-time partner Jenny, numerous family members, and a host of friends and colleagues from all across the 405’s creative class. My thoughts go out to everyone who knew and loved him.

Although we had fallen out of touch, I’m still going to miss Lucas, and I’m happy to know that his words will live on for eternity – or hopefully close to it – on this site and other local publications.

The next time you drive by an OnCue that’s in the spot where a cool old building once stood – or walk by some Bradford Pears that make you hold your breath – please say a little word in his honor.


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