I've always considered David Schoffman to be mon meilleur copain - my very best friend - but the sentiment hasn't always been repaid in kind. To expect meticulously calibrated reciprocity in matters of amitié corrupts the clarity of tenderness with the arithmetic of peddlers and so I've learned to detach.
And yet it still unnerves me to think that within that cultural wilderness called southern California, a place where the intelligentsia concerns itself with things like rainfall, property taxes and leaked executive salaries, my good friend David is marinating like a cornichon in sweet brine.
His latest "inspiring colleague" is a fellow named Harry Cohn, an unpublished poet of book length parodies in iambic verse. They met at a self-help seminar ostensibly devoted to what the organizers described as "the odysseys of older men," a euphemism for diminished virility. Seeing the sunset of sex is a terrifying vision and as misery of that sort abjures the company of unsympathetic youth, the old codgers get together twice a month to cry on each others bifocals.
I suppose I can't blame David for preferring dear Harry to me. Those who follow my work realize in vivid color that I've still got plenty of foreskin in the game. It must be hard to watch but he only has himself to blame. What did he expect with his meatless diet and endless exercise?
It's already been established that after the age of 55, low cholesterol and low libido are linked like mountaineers. Forget oysters and kelp, cognac and marijuana are the proven aphrodisiacs. And take it from a Frenchman, nothing beats dark tobacco non-filtered cigarettes to keep the southern circulation flowing.
But I can't expect to convince Schoffman of any of this. He eats more kale than a fatted calf. And if I'm destined to pay for my nutritional infractions I'd rather suffer without the help of a support group in a conference room.
I too have learned how to make new friends.