Tag Archives: friends

Intermission: People

From the stories so far one might come away with the impression that every waking moment at PCC is filled with some fresh new horror being foisted upon the students. That isn’t exactly true. Horror is scheduled from 3:30-4:00 on alternating Thursdays. Please wear afternoon class dress for this event.

I do have some good memories from PCC — most of which involve one of two things: friends and music…

I would be remiss if on this 10th anniversary of graduation I didn’t take some time to remember the people at college who made life bearable. Of course there was my wife who for the brief time she was there saw my air general gloom as the perfect challenge for her perpetual cheer. But there were also summer work friends. Computer Science classmates. Roommates who introduced me to the wonders of tie checks, dumpster diving, comic books, Ramen noodles, gummy bear dioramas and Sunday afternoon drives to Alabama “just because.”

One roommate in particular deserves special recognition. Dave Tesone bounded into my life my freshman year of college, a big burly Italian from California who just couldn’t ever seem to take PCC (or anything else) very seriously. His good cheer and general amusement at the uptight machinations of the college helped teach me some very valuable survival skills for the rest of my time there. Sadly, Dave died in a tragic car accident only a few short years after transferring away from PCC. He is missed. May he rest in peace until we meet again in a far better place where there is never a light’s out.

There is another person who helped keep my sanity during my tenure and deserves a mention. Miss Bradford (now Mrs. Cole) graciously allowed a skinny not-quite-tenor who barely read music to join her Symphonic choir and then later (even after a disastrous audition with laryngitis) the Chamber choir. I don’t know how one person managed to have a will and graciousness strong enough to make a classroom a haven from the outside pressures that surrounded us but somehow she managed it. Week after week we would stand in that practice room and sing Ave Verum Corpus and for a few brief moments the stress and cares would simply slip away, dissolved in ancient beauty. It was not church or chapel but a choir director that saved my soul in those dark years.

So many friends. So many laughing faces both of those still loved and those only dimly remembered. I was blessed to meet some of humanity at their very best in that unlikely place. These were never the people in power nor were they good because PCC had mandated that they must be. They were often kind in spite of rules that would have constrained them to be otherwise. Often in such places acts of kindness must necessarily be acts of loving rebellion.

Of course, near the end I also experienced some of the worst of what people have to offer. But that’s a story for tomorrow…

Getting Along?

Among the quotes that Abraham Lincoln may or may not have said is this: “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” Why then to do fundamentalists rage against the heathen? Would they not be better to befriend them in hopes of winning them to their cause?

Ah, but there lies the rub. For to a fundamentalist sin is like an terrible virus that is likely to leap from host to host. It takes but a word, a touch, a look and you too will become like unto them. Before you know it the world won’t be able to see at a glance that you are better than they.

It’s best to wear a protective mask of false smiles and gloves of self-righteousness when you’re near the afflicted. Wash your hands of their stench as soon as you get away and thank God that you are not like other men. Think of their worth only as for what they could be and never for what they are.

Distance. Deprecate. Dehumanize. And when you are finished you’ll find that you won’t have to bother separating yourself from sinners. They’ll separate themselves from you just like they did from Jesus.

I fear I myself have not been so careful. I hugged a gay atheist friend this morning because he was having a bad day. I’ll be sure to let you know if any symptoms develop.