Denny Wayland Dies — BLOG 26

Friday, September 12, 1975


Sunrise, September 12, 1975

Curious sunrise this morning. Denny Wayland died last night.

We worked together a lot when I’d first gotten out on the street. He was a very philosophical guy and probably the sanest, most stable and serene cop in the SFPD. Eight years my senior, Denny was the older brother I never had.

He used to carry a book by Immanuel Kant in a briefcase he brought to work — Critique of Pure Reason. During lunch breaks, amidst the restaurant hustle-bustle of Zim’s or the Copper Penny, Denny would pull out the 700-page book and start reading. He’d use a yellow highlighter to mark interesting ideas, then write his comments in the margin with a red pen.

Many of Kant’s ideas made sense to me, for example:

“Happiness is having something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to.”

But life is cruel. I went to see him last week. Only 33 years old and the father of four young children,Denny was lying in a hospital bed, dying of testicular cancer. We talked a bit, and I guess he could sense my awkwardness about his situation.

“There is nothing more tangible than the present moment,” he said.

He looked up at me, then he tapped his heart with his fist.

“What you’re hoping to find ‘out there,’ Phil, is already within you.”

Rest in Peace Denny.