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reading tiger

I am having somewhat of an odd sort of Old Home Week(end). Yesterday I was contacted (on Facebook, natch) by someone I went to elementary-middle-high school with, and I believe was about a year older than me; he is now married to his husband and living in Hawaii and raising a kid. That was a pleasant moment of reconnection.

But he wasn't the only one. There's a long and thoughtful essay being passed around right now, Bill Cosby, Himself: Fame, Narcissism and Sexual Violence." It happens to be written by one of my closest friends from middle school (whom I also attended elementary and high school with). I managed to read about 3/4 of the essay before checking the byline to see if this gay black man living in New York was a writer I was previously familiar with. Well, yes! Just not in the manner I expected.

It was startling in part because of things like this:

"And because we are addicted to violence against women in this culture; because you can’t turn on a episode of CSI, or Stalker, or Cold Case or Criminal Minds and not see a woman burned, stabbed, cut, beaten, or raped; because we are addicted to pornography as a society, and hope that the woman we are watching in the video is there consensually, and hasn’t been enslaved, kidnapped, or coerced; because rape is so endemic in our culture it is almost a rite of passage and a form of social control, we are numb as a culture to women’s pain (except when it entertains us.) "

Which would intersect (as they say) neatly with some of the stuff that's on my mind lately and that I'm working out in other venues (as they also say).

Not to mention, you know, the quote from The Handmaid's Tale.

I had to be a little Internet-stalkerish to figure out that yes, this is the person that I grew up with; his name isn't distinctive in the way that, say, mine is. But I confirmed it. And I said hi on Twitter. This isn't the first time we've been in contact since school; we were in touch for a little while after graduation, and he e-mailed me maybe 5 years ago or so and we had a brief exchange of notes. But it feels rather more significant this time around. Maybe just because, how often do you run across an old friend going viral -- how often do you reconnect with an old friend *because* they've gone viral? I've been mildly on the recipient end of this before, but rarely on the "hey! I know that person! No, I really know that person!" tip.

(Also perhaps enhanced by the fact that some of the essay in question falls into memoir territory, and the other essay I read to confirm his identity was squarely in same.)

I have no neat conclusion to this unusual type of weekend update. Oh, hey, I finished a story on Friday, too!


I had seen that essay and thought it was awesome. How cool is it that he was a close friend? He strikes me as the sort of person who would be.