Nine days ago, my friend Pat died.
A few months ago, I considered using The Talented Mr. Ripley for a lesson plan. I emailed my department’s listserv asking if anyone had a copy.
A number of co-workers emailed back pointing out the college’s library I passed twice a day twice a week contains literally millions of media, undoubtedly including Ripley. Pat emailed to say he’d left a copy in my mailbox. We had a short, insightful (for me, anyway) discussion of the film, and the original version of the film, and the story they’re based on.
The further this century advances, the more grateful I become for the artifacts of the prior. I still answer the phone with a questioning “Hello?” because I remember when a phone call was a surprise. Sometimes I’m afraid to voice a question in public because someone is guaranteed to whip out their cell and look up the answer. Sometimes a question isn’t a quest for information, but for mere humanity.
Going to the library for Ripley would likely yield the DVD and nothing more. Getting it from a friend, especially one who loved stories like Pat did, yielded a story to remember, and to share. Thus the story-tree grows; thus the world is born again. Pat didn’t only write stories with words. He wrote stories into the lives of those who were lucky to know the man and love the man. Continue reading