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What's Chris Been Up To?
Recent Comings and Goings
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Hey everyone -
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” One of the most quoted sentences in the English language, and for good reason. This opening line of A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens speaks to the constant yinging and yanging of human existence.
“How are you?” they ask. “How’s it going?”
Honest answer? I’m great (and horrible). Feeling really good (and dying inside). Couldn’t be better (or worse).
Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
This is where we reside, always. It’s where we are, will be, and always have been, I suppose. The US is being taken over by a cabal of authoritarian power-mad pseudo-Christians who get off on forcing rape victims to give birth, non-believers to fund their religious schools, and peaceful people to worry about who might have a gun in his pocket. And still, the birds are singing, (some of) the rivers are flowing, and there’s endless magic in being alive.
My mom pocket dialed me at 3am last night and I couldn’t get to sleep afterwards. So I started noodling around on the computer and, not wanting to get upset by looking at news, I logged into Facebook (something I do about once a month). There was a message from Jim, a friend from high school, informing me that Chip, a mutual friend from those days, had died almost a year ago. Chip Kime, one of the most effortlessly brilliant people I’ve ever known, an electric bear of a man even at 16, was gone already. I’d bet the farm his IQ was pushing 180 or so. After blasting through high school like Michael Jordan at basketball camp, he’d gone to Duke, then medical school, residency (trauma surgeon), worked in ERs in Texas for a while, had a private practice for about a decade, retired young … then abruptly died.
That’s it? Over already? It seems like he spent 70% of his life preparing, 10% doing what he’d prepared to do, and 20% wondering why. I don’t know how he died. The obit contained almost no information. But I have a feeling.
If/when you hear that I’ve died, I hope you won’t get that feeling: the quiet sadness of a guy who missed the bus, or got on the wrong one. Like anyone else, I have my regrets and anxieties, but life hasn’t passed me by. I’m not leaving any wine in the bottle my friends.
We’re back from the safari, and by “back,” I mean in a place where the wifi seems to work and hot water is abundant (Tbilisi, Georgia). The plan is to be here for a month or so, then Athens for the first half of August, Spain for the second half, then back to Scarlett Jovansson and the US for the fall. Hope to see you along the way.
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P.S. We’ve cleaned up the back TOMA episodes, so you should be able to find all 17 of them here on Substack, as well as some photos I added to some of them. More of that series coming soon.
If you are a paying subscriber, you can also watch the video version of my conversation with Kevin here.