austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

There was a guy named Joel

With my brother not able to attend Cinematic Titanic in Manhattan my first impulse was to call it all off, and take in the Princeton show, maybe switching a day of work from the coming week to the Friday of the show so that I'd not have to drive so much. But my brother pointed out his friend had already bought the tickets, and besides, he had a backup plan: he could send a friend in his place.

Not just his friend, actually, but one of my friends. Or maybe former friends. It's, uncharacteristically, a touch odd, but he and I had become friends when we were teens and working summer mornings as semi-volunteers for a day camp for kids with various ... well, the camp called them ``brain injuries'', although that varied from simple attention disorders or mild dyslexias like semi-volunteer teens such as we could manage all the way up to severe Down Syndrome sufferers that more professional staff cared for. We got along well, thanks to similar interests discovered in a button-making session (that my brother matched us up for, as we'd started with different groups). We were great friends in high school, sort of drifted across when I went to college and he spectacularly failed to run away to his sister's in California (he stopped about two blocks from his house, some 2,999.98 miles short of the goal, and hid in the basement all summer) and joined the Army to pay for college about which I have no end of ridiculous stories.

Anyway, over the course of things I saw him less and less, and he grew closer to my younger brother, to the point of becoming sometimes-roommate, and even their being Best Man for each other's wedding. He and I never really broke off our friendship; it just receded into one of those distant things where we weren't in the same circles and don't have much occasion to cross over. So this would give us the chance to reconnect and actually do something not wedding-related together. And he was up for it too ... if he could get off work. He's a librarian now, and has eight hours of vacation per year, so he watches them carefully. When exactly would the show be?

Trivia: William Thomson, the Lord Kelvin, was the first person to pay Guglielmo Marconi for the transmission of a wireless telegraph. Kelvin keyed the message himself. Source: Thunderstruck, Erik Larson.

Currently Reading: The American Presidents: Grover Cleveland, Henry F Gaff.


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