LI heard from an old friend the other day, Tom S. Tom, it appears, is coming to Austin and wants to see his old drinking buddy. We immediately became soggy from nostalgia.
It was, what, twelve years ago? Fifteen? Yes, LI was as thin as a malnourished radish, an outlier in the U.T. Philosophy department. We had already decided that the academic life wasn�t for us. Or the academic life had made that decision � kicked out or quit, life�s eternal question, no? Our friend Janet Flesch, who was also in the department, was teaching an advanced philo class, and Tom was one of her students, which is how we met.
There�s that wonderful phrase of Goethe�s: elective affinities. Friendship is about alchemistry, the obscure movement of sensibilities, and the metallic symbols thereof. Right. The transmutations of base metals. Nietzsche and alcohol.
There is a certain personality that receives Nietzsche like evolution received that comet 65 million years ago � he gets rid of everything clumsy that has been crawling around, fearsome and stupid, on the planet of one�s life. LI admits, without shame, to that impact. We think Tom was undergoing something similar. Now, back then, LI was quite a sharp talker when it came to the Gotterdammerung. On the other hand, as much as we liked to drink, we were saddled with the above mentioned malnourished radish frame. We were 29, 30, and weighed 130 � and we�ve put on, on a good day, when we are soaking wet, at least ten pounds since then. So we would sit with Tom and his friends in a bar that, at the time, the University of Texas was kind enough to offer its over 21 year old students. A bar that is gone with the wind, assisted by the Puritanism of the Texas legislature, nowadays. We would drink until we were swimming on dry land. Then, in a haze in which we could actually see light make that transition from particle to wave and back � light was doing this all around us, it was actually getting to be a drag -- we would say goodbye to Tom�s table and try to make it out of the building. Usually at this point the architectural peculiarity of the building intervened � it was designed to become a maze for visionaries and drunk people, leading them to the nearest convenient bathroom. There we would stay, evacuating, at intervals, unnecessary nourishment in some beautiful stall, with informative graffiti about ethnic groups, available women, and the sexual derring do of various fraternities, all that oral ministration to random penises, illustrated with magic marker, until a university cop would knock on the door of the stall, gallantry offering assistance.
A golden age. Ah yes, I remember it welllll�