Monday, February 8, 2016


I had a strange dream last night.

It wasn’t really a dream. It was no more than a fragment, like a bit of celluloid cut from a movie; an outtake.

All my dreams are like movies. I’m never in them. I only watch them.

The scene is the lunchroom at the tech center. All the tables are occupied.

The camera dollies between the tables from one end of the room to the other, like a tracking shot by Max Ophüls, and finally stops at one table.

Sitting at the table are the men I worked with at the tech center. They all face the camera, with appalled expressions, except for one man whose back is to the camera.

This man is wearing a brown suit, so I assume it’s me. Loren once told me the people in our department called me ‘the man in the brown suit’ when I first arrived, until they learned my name. Apparently there was only one man in the whole department - perhaps the whole tech center - who dared defy convention and wear a brown suit.

“This building is an architectural landmark, one of Eero Saarinen’s greatest works,” the man in the brown suit was telling the others. “Do you even know who Eero Saarinen is?” Then he sighs and shakes his head.

"I know working here represents success to you, the pinnacle of your career," he says. "But it's failure to me."

I’m as appalled as they are, because I would never speak to anyone in that condescending manner, no matter what I might think. I'm surprised, too, because it’s not my voice. He has an English accent.

The camera slowly circles the man in the brown suit until I see it's Alan Rickman, the English actor.

Rickman died recently. All the obituaries praised him for the skill with which he played villains, because in real life he was known as a kind and generous man, as villains often are. It’s those who play heroes who are not to be trusted.

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