Culture and Society
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I felt I was supposed to pretend I was a little sad he was gone — at least, for the first few days. I told him I missed him, because I did. I’m not a complete monster.
We need constant proof that we’re not alone. And if we don’t see a companion, we strain to hear one in the dark. And when there is no whistle in return? I’m here to tell you, we will make one up.
You had the face of a man who couldn’t help understanding everything — all of it, the whole pathetic, tragic human thing — and that draws people in. To me you were a magnet of kindness.
For many years — the majority of my life, in fact — acknowledging death’s inevitability exerted little psychological pressure on me. I had no fear of passing, as they say, from this world into the next, or, assuming no next world exists, simply entering oblivion.
One does not sit in order to become enlightened. One sits because, as the Buddha exclaimed at the moment of his awakening, one is enlightened as one is. The practice is simply a means of realizing this fact, which the ordinary, dualistic mind obscures.
In an age when young men, setting out on a career of journalism, must find their niche in some huge newspaper or magazine combine, I am a wholly independent newspaperman, standing alone, without organizational or party backing, beholden to no one but my good readers. I am even one up on Benjamin Franklin — I do not accept advertising.
In The Paper’s Midtown Manhattan office, the long fluorescent light fixtures contained the silhouetted carcasses of cockroaches that had died making the journey from one end to the other. The carpet was a Rorschach test of spilled cola, coffee, and cigarette ashes. This was where I worked for the better part of a year.