As any hypothetical-mythical person who reads this blog carefully knows, I am a big fan of The Derb, i.e. John Derbyshire. As a disaffected former political junky, the Derb's ruminations have kept me connected to my former life. I agree with almost everything he says. In fact, I can't, off the top of my head, think of any opinion he has ever expressed with which I haven't agreed easily, quickly, and mostly intuitively. Essentially, he is something like a friend I never had*. Back-logs of RadioDerb kept me company when I was studying for my board exams, and We Are Doomed is the first book I read after taking my exam--in fact, went straight to Barnes & Noble, bought if straight off the shelf, and read it right in the store.
So you can imagine my dismay when I returned from Miami to find that the Derb has cancer. Apparently, he announced this already, but as I hate/am-bored-with victim-ribbons, I avoided that column since I didn't know it was biographical. Anyhow, as he has started chemotherapy now, we must assume that the wait and watch methodology originally employed has been less than completely successful.
In fact, the fact that he has published some frankly sentimental columns on childhood fascinations and his dear old mum make me think that his mindset is even more morbid than usual. Whether this represents any medical reality, I don't know.
I was actually choked up tonight. I don't get choked up often, and often it is at odd and seemingly trivial things. But tonight I felt the full force of my participation in the human race as my "heart went out" to the Derb.
Derb, be well. Take care of yourself. KBO. I don't want to live in Constantine's Camelot.
Honestly, I thought Derbyshirism would accompany me at least into my 50's. Let it be so.
* William F. Buckley is the only other public figure about whom I have ever felt this way. I went to Swarthmore College the year after WFB had been there under the auspices of an ISI speaking engagement largely because he had been there to bless the inaugural year of the Swarthmore Conservative Union. I felt a very strong compulsion, which I resisted out of embarassment, to visit Buckley, and then he died. I had two of his Firing Line episodes on J.S. Bach digitized at Stanford. What shall I do with Derb since I failed to make anything of my opportunity to meet him? So far, I have drunk about a 1/2 bottle of cognac, and at that only the cheap plonk-distill I have on hand at all times. (Although I have to say Salingac is the best plonk-distill I've found.)