13 of 100

14 04 2013

13. You know at least one person named Michael. Tell me about him.

This has been the first of the questions that I’ve really struggled to answer. I know, and have known so many people named “Michael”. The one that keeps coming back to mind is the first Michael I remember, and I haven’t seen or heard from him since school. I’ve tried to find him online, but have had no success. I’m sure we had some classes together, but my strongest memories from him are riding the same school bus. He was quiet, and thin. He was about my height, with dark hair. At the time I thought he was the embodiment of what I wanted to be. I only remember him as a nice, pleasant person, who was one of the guys without ever being rude or condescending. He didn’t have to be the center of attention. Remembering him now I suspect that he was a little shy, although not cripplingly so.

I would love to see him again. I imagine that he has a wife, two or three kids, and a job at which he works really hard for moderate income. Is he still rail thin? Does he still have an adorable smile? Is his hair still combed straight down? Does he still have a full head of hair? Does he have a beard? Is he happy? Is he a fundamentalist? Would he be freaked out that I’m gay? Does he even remember me? If he does, what did he think of me way back then?

It feels weird to write about the Michael that I probably know the least about. On the other hand, I’m overwhelmed by the number of Michael’s I know, and all that I could possibly write about them.

“The problem, if anything, was precisely the opposite. I had too much to write:

too many fine and miserable buildings to construct and streets to name and clock towers to set chiming,

too many characters to raise up from the dirt like flowers whose petals I peeled down to the intricate frail organs within,

too many terrible genetic and fiduciary secrets to dig up and bury and dig up again,

too many divorces to grant,

heirs to disinherit,

trysts to arrange,

letters to misdirect into evil hands,

innocent children to slay with rheumatic fever,

women to leave unfulfilled and hopeless,

men to drive to adultery and theft,

fires to ignite at the hearts of ancient houses. ”
― Michael Chabon, Wonder Boys


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