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Henry's Comment

“I think you’re going to be famous,” Henry, the super, told me one day as he saw me passing through the lobby, “but it’ll be after you’re dead.”

I don’t know why he said that, or what he was basing it on. He sounded sincere, meaning no insult, and I took none. But it was over thirty years ago and I’ve never forgotten it. I wonder not why he said it – I don’t even want to know that – but whether it’s true. Henry was no dummy, and might have picked up on some truth even if based on the wrong evidence.

People walk around seeing things in other people that would be downright surprising for those people to learn. I’d say it’s a rare event when your building super casually offers an opinion that could well be not just true, but the defining parameter of your life’s work. Do you see it in me? Sometimes I think I see it myself, but then, very quickly, I don’t.

We hold a veil between self and seeing that self, and we stretch it wide and nail it firmly in place. It’s hard to see around. It’s behind the eyes so it blinds only the self and no one else.

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