I’ve been lucky to have had good friendships. I say lucky because I’m not an easy person to know. I’m opinionated, contrarian, suspicious of cant, disposed to a generalized distrust of earnestness. I don’t believe in “theory” when applied to literature or culture. Literary “theory” is opinion that hasn’t been subjected to serious rhetorical analysis. Derrida on animals is not worth the read. As I say, I’m not easy to know. I suspect I’d have gotten along well with the late Neil Postman.
When I was 15 and staying at a Key Biscayne resort with my father (who was on a business trip) I found myself alone in an elevator with Melvin Laird, Nixon’s secretary of defense. The year was 1970. My hero was John Lennon. I looked at Mel and said, “How’s your war going Mr. Laird? Are the body counts where you’d like them?” I was anorexic, stringy haired, and rebarbative. He glared and bolted when the doors opened.
I’m not easy to like. Unless you’re against war, dislike social hypocrisy and all the “isms” as we say.
But then again I like those who have learned to like themselves.
Which means knowing also who you are not.
Which means knowing what Bob Marley meant when he said:
“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”