Mark Edmundson – Hungry Hearts
I had a childhood friend named Paul Rizzo. Paul had a hungry heart. He wanted to see everything, know everything, read everything, go everywhere. He had what you might call an associative mind, and he surely didn’t cold-cock his SATs. But he did want to learn. He went to some colleges; he took some courses. But I don’t think he ever got the quality of education he deserved. That kind of schooling was too often reserved for kids who aced their boards and charmed their teachers and were elected presidents of the Climbers Club by unanimous acclaim.
Paul is still out there, driving a cab, writing fiction, reading what he can and trying to figure it all out. He sees himself as an Everyman type, but not without aspirations of an intellectual and even spiritual sort. Not long ago he used the phrase “Hamlet with a coffee to go” in a note to me and that describes Paul pretty well. The Boss would probably like him, maybe even enough to slip him into a song. Hungry hearts – smart or slow, rich or poor – still deserve a place in the class.