My admission that I judge people be whether they buy “Cheesesteak” and, if they do, by how they respond to it has troubled my friend Robert, a visual artist and man of unimpeachable ethical standards, who is not undelighted by jerks of my chain.
First, he suggests, a certain hypocrisy may lie. “Would you buy a book from someone you saw selling it in a café?” he probingly inquires.
That exact situation has never presented itself, but I once bought a book from a wandering troubadour-like North African fellow perched on the sidewalk outside Vine Street Peet’s. I have bought volumes of poetry from Julia Vinograd as she roamed around Telley, and I’ve bought homemade CDs from aspiring Rap artists outside Downtown Berkeley BART. Support the arts, is my motto.
So, yeah, pure as driven snow, I am, here.
But Robert’s second area of concern, that my actions with my book represented a moral defect, which had been recognized as long ago as Richardson’s novel “Clarissa, struck a sore spot. For Clarissa said she would be displeased with herself “if I should judge the merits of others as they were kind to me…. For is this not to suppose myself ever in the right and all those who do not as I would have them act, perpetually in the wrong.”
Okay, I am going to have to work on that one.
(To be continued…)