Alright. I’m pissed. I just wrote this really long blog entry-twice-and lost it both times. I’m writing on my phone because my computer is in the shop, so the whole thing is taking way too long anyway. I’m tempted to see this as a sign that I should either a) skip this entry entirely or b) wait until I have my computer back. Being stubborn and stupid, I will not do either. If I fail a third time, I’ll just throw myself off the roof. Of course, you can’t hold me to that because none of what I am writing right now will exist.         

I want to talk to you about an acquaintance of mine and a strange experience I have had with him. His is Donald Ramsey and we went to college together. He’s a very talented artist and a good guy to boot. We’ve worked together a little, but mostly I know him through his many collaborations with close friends of mine.

 

No, not that Astro.

No, not that Astro.

One of those friends, a guy named Astro, visited me in India back in 2003, shortly after we had graduated from college. We traveled through the once upon a socialist state of Kerala together, spending time in crowded trains and on black sand beaches. One night we decided to catch a private overnight river boat, on which we stayed up late playing songs and swapping stories. At some point, Donald’s name came up.

“Hey Astro, do you ever talk to Donald Ramsey?”

“Yeah. We stay in touch.”

“How is he? I’ve always liked that guy, though, truth be told, it always seemed like he didn’t like me. I’m probably just being paranoid. I have no basis for thinking that.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”         

“Right about what?”

“That he doesn’t like you.”

“Wait, he told you this? What was the context?”

“Your name came up and he said, ‘I don’t really like that guy.'”

Now, I’m not so narcissistic that I feel like everybody should like me, but it’s a little weird to me that he offered his unsolicited opinion of me to one of my close friends. I was equal parts dumbfounded, intrigued, irked and even impressed. Despite my general feeling of “if you don’t have anything nice to say…” I still felt a little respect for his chutzpah. I mean that’s some moxie he showed there. Real cojones. Okay, I’ll stop now.

I saw him one time after learning this, unexpectedly, and I avoided pulling a Larry David (confronting him, dragging Astro into it, making a messy public scene , declaring some kind of rivalry, having encounter after encounter escalate, making common friends choose sides, organize feats of strength and endurance in an attempt to air our differences through competition, etc.) on him. I played it cool and haven’t seen him since.

For some reason, though, I was reminded of the story last week when I was having dinner in Brooklyn with Sam and our friend Cam Neely (no relation). 

[Insert me telling that whole story again here.]

 

No, not that Cam Neely.

No, not that Cam Neely.

I finished the story and we all agreed that the whole thing was a little weird. Cam interjected, though: “I wasn’t going to say anything, but he actually told me the same thing.”

“Really? When was this?”

“Last summer, we were watching a ballgame together and your name came up-I’m pretty sure it was you who introduced us- and he just said, ‘I don’t really like that guy.'”

Again with the unsolicited opinions! To my good friends! Did he think they wouldn’t tell me? I considered trying to contact the guy and having my Larry David moment after all:

“Hey Donald. I know what you said last summer, and five years ago. What’s the beef, holmes?”

I’m not sure that this is the right course of action. In fact, I’m nearly certain that it’s not. To reiterate, I don’t think he should like me, but normally, psychologically, we tendto like people that like us. They treat us differently, however subtly, and that influences our opinion of them.
Maybe it has something to do with me repeatedly calling him, waiting outside his house, and asking strangers to take photos of us together without him knowing. I mean, these are the things that endear us to someone, right? (I’m kidding of course, though I should add that there is no punchline coming. If that’s what you are waiting for, you might wait a while…)

At this point, I’m holding out hope that a third friend will come forward with a similar story and I can ride this thing out for another five years or so. It’s starting to make me think, though. I could take this opportunity to disparage the guy in a public forum, but, honestly, I’m not interested. He’s a good dude, by all accounts. I’ve lost interest in being friends, understandably, but I’m also not interested in being enemies. I do wonder if he’s making up fake names for me and writing blog entries about how Sheldon Dunleavy is bad dude and everyone should stay away from the guy and his blog.

Actually, that would be good, because itmight increase the traffic around here and get some discussion going. Two things attract a crowd more than anything: a crowd, and a person of “authority” condemning and forbidding a thing.

Okay, the song “Instant Karma” just came on the radio. Is that a sign? Two failed attempts at writing this thing, and then John Lennon tells me that “Instant Karma’s gonna get [me]”. Well, then.
  

The River in Kerala.

The River in Kerala.

 

 

 

 

 

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