Thursday, September 03, 2020

Graeber was my closest friend for most of the 80s. We were roommates in college in NY and later briefly in Chicago before we had a falling out. We didn't talk for years. I found out 20 years later that he'd dedicated one of his first published essays to me and to his girlfriend at the time. Our last argument was a few years ago.

Wikipedia gets a few things wrong. His father wasn't Jewish. He was German. It links his Lincoln Brigade page. Both his parents had great stories. I remember his mother showing me the Life Magazine spread with new faces in Hollywood, a page of floating headshots in five pointed stars. I recognized her but she pointed to Vincent Price. "It was so hard to be a homosexual in those days." It didn't work out and she ended up back on the shop floor. His father was 46 when David was born. His mother was two years younger. David's father's father was older than that when David's father was born, and David's great-great-grandfather fought in the battles of Leipzig and Waterloo. In his 60s David's father started studying Romani. One day he was walking in the Village and a woman called him over. Gypsy women are never prostitutes but they'll roll you. He let her go on for a few minutes with her arm around his waist before upbraiding her in her native language: "You should be ashamed of yourself!" He laughed describing the expression on her face and her apologies. He'd conned a con. I have other stories. Bella Abzug was "Bella Bets" because when she played poker she never folded. At some point David's father gave me a Roman coin. I have no idea what happened to it.  There are other things more personal that I know less about, but they're not mine to talk about either way. I learned a lot from David, and since he admitted it I can say without appearing to brag that he learned a lot from me. He was an ass, but so am I.  And he's the first person I've lost from our generation who was important to me, intellectually and as a friend.

The few times in the megillah where I mention friends it's David. Also any references here to "old roommate" etc.

The last time we communicated couple of years ago he sent me a photograph. He said it was me. I said it was him. He said it was me. It's him. It's his parents' apartment. I'm not sure of the painting on the left but the print or drawing on the right is Jack Levine. They knew everyone. I'm sure they had connections to my father, and my parents, but didn't ask. They all knew Harry Bridges.
Ruth Rubenstein singing Chain Store Daisy,
A photo on Flicker, Cornell ILGWU Archive. An interview, but not public.

The hagiographies are coming fast. I'll hold my tongue for now.

And now two other people who knew us are saying the pic is me. I'm having a bad day. A third says it's David, but now I don't trust anybody. Friends fuck with you. It's what they're there for. 
David in 1978, Cropped, from here. I think the pic above is me.

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