Friday, February 12, 2021



April 2019

I am able to push away the thoughts of the newspaper article when I get back. There are over forty e-mails that I need to address and others I need to go through to discard. And I am not that important. I wonder sometimes what people who are in loftier positions and more connected do when they come back from some kind of break.  I’d responded to several messages while I was away but those that I had not addressed and those that had accrued during the flight now awaited me.  So, I didn’t need to dwell on what I knew I had to do because I had all these e-mails to answer.  

I had a meeting at 11 which, unfortunately, gave me time to day dream since the discussion, as is often the case in academic circles, was going around in them.  I’d brought an I-pad tablet with me and pushed some more buttons.  I was able to find magazine articles from the period and a few newspaper clippings that I’d not yet unearthed.  I’m on Facebook and typed in names.  Most came up empty but there were times when I connected.  I looked through the “about” tab on those Facebook profiles I could access. There was even more evidence to support that what I thought I knew, I knew.

A bomb went off a few years ago just about a half mile from where I sit.  During the running of the Boston Marathon some coward destroyed lives by planting a bomb where spectators were huddled watching their loved ones cross the finish line.  I typically go to watch the marathon with a buddy. That year, however, we were lazy in the morning and did not get going towards the finish line until mid afternoon. Shortly after we began our drive into town we heard the news that there had been an explosion.  Three dead and scores of others injured. Ruined lives by a coward.

Let’s just say you knew that a coward was considering hurting another. You were privy to some information and you could do something about it ahead of time. And you didn’t.  Who would be the greater coward, you, or the sick individual who subsequently committed the crime?  Anyone who considers planting a bomb in a crowd is deranged.  And if you are sane, and are listening to someone planning, something insane, are you then more culpable than the perpetrator if you are silent?

A friend I know or knew had a drinking problem. I write “know or knew” because I have not seen my friend in years.  I know his brother and the brother can’t find him either, so I don’t know if my friend is alive or dead. The brother, Harold, told me that the last he had heard from Marty he was living on the streets and Harold was unable to convince his brother to get off them. When I saw Marty a quarter of a century ago he was trying to stay sober, but he told me that he often was unsuccessful. And when he got drunk he would take out the car and drive.  His wife hid the car keys, but when drunk he would scream maniacally and threaten their infant daughter—so she would succumb to the demands and give him the car keys. 

I remember a conversation that made me nervous.  The driver was talking about something that just flat out seemed to be baloney.  It was a classic what was being said was inconsistent with everything else I could detect.  References to family were muttered with a combination of anger, loss, resentment, and something that sounded like a “just you wait” determination for revenge.  I'd heard this kind of emotional rant several times on the trip. 

My meeting ended and I only realized it when committee members started to leave. I’d managed to grunt at appropriate intervals and nod sagely every now and again so I looked like most of the participants.  I closed up the tablet, went back to the office, and started to make a list.  One item on the list was to call Becca. 

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