Sunday, November 1, 1992
A Best Friend
Dear G.U.C.I. Staff:
I must confess that delivering my son to Indiana University has had a profound
affect on me. Along with all of the normal feelings of "I can't believe he's
going away" (read: "I can't believe I'm old enough to actually have a son old
enough for college") that this occasion brings to the forefront, come a whole
host of memories. Lately I've been remembering the unique relationship I had
with my roommate, Gerry Fink. Gerry (pronounced Gary, his mother didn't have
Spellcheck when he was born) and I were best friends all the way through high
school and roomed together for our first three years in college. Many great
friendships meet a jagged end when the friends devolve into "roommate-ness."
Not so with Gerry and me. We were the most opposite two-of-a-kind in
As I think back on how we managed to stay best friends, even grow closer during
our college years, I am struck by how different, yet alike we were. Where
Gerry was meticulous with his clothes and supplies, I used to say, "The world
is my closet;" where Gerry studied accounting (the class that ultimately put me
on the 4 1/2 year plan) and was a wiz, I labored through any class that
involved numbers; where Gerry was a peripheral Christian, I was a pretty-
involved Jew; where Gerry lived his summers in the city, I lived for my summers
at camp. But we had two incredible things in common, one was our senses of
humor. We were so equally caustic in our outlooks, so sarcastic, and I believe
so funny that we never ceased to amuse each other. At times we were like a
comedy team, knowing what the other was thinking, finishing each other's
thoughts and sentences, and always laughing. This all started in high school.
We loved to look at the world from unusual angles. We renamed things and so
developed our own dialogues. I'm sure other people thought we were strange at
best, but we had great fun.
The other thing we had in common was a love of jazz. Gerry and I brought our
records to college and somehow managed to put together a decent stereo as
well. We taught each other what little we knew, and shared an incredible
excitement for Count Basie, Dave Bruebeck and Paul Desmond, Oscar Peterson,
etc. The years 1964 to 1968 were very difficult years to be in college.
Friends were drafted right out of college and wound up in the jungles of
southeast Asia. There was tremendous pressure to make grades in order to keep
one's student deferrment. Being a good student was almost a matter of life and
death. Along with the usual not knowing what in the hell we wanted to do with
our lives, the joys and heartaches of many affairs of the heart, and the
pressures of school, we managed to keep each other laughing and snapping our
fingers to the beat. We had only two arguements in our three years together
(the subjects of which are so insignificant I won't mention them other than to
say that one had to do with the best way to get the beer cold).
I was Gerry's best man, and he was mine. Our lives have grown apart, but I
certainly can't avoid thinking back warmly on those days at this time. Thanks
for the memories, Ger.