Monday, June 30, 2014

Mike's Story Part 65 - Furnace

   January 5, 2008 
  "Holy shit!" 
   "It's gone! My email about B-. I looked in sent mail. Do you have it?"
   "Yes." I found my cc'ed copy of the email and forwarded it to Mike. 
   "This is them. They're letting me know I have to back off." 
   He sat back, pondering. "I'm taking this very seriously." 
   "Why would they care more about that than about your helping Steve [Alten] or [the guy working on a movie about the end of industrial civilization]?" 
   "They're afraid of my brain." 
   The next day, I found the missing email in Trash. 
   "I didn't do that," he said. 
   "Well, it would make no sense for them to do that. I think what may have happened is:  Larry Chin responded; after you read that, you put it in trash along with the whole sequence."
   "That's possible."
   But there was no doubt "They" were messing with him, as became clear on his reconnaissance trip to LA. It wasn't so much the missing luggage, leaving him to the elements during record-breaking storms, he said, as his seat companions on the flight:
   "Aren't you the guy who smashed his own computers?" asked one. Another claimed Peak Oil is no problem because of the abiotic oil off the coast of Louisiana; a third had been to all the countries Mike had been to.
   The first guy seemed to me the most convincing candidate for possible agent.  As for the others, well...  As soon as you raise the issue of Peak Oil, people have all sorts of facile comebacks of which infinitely-renewable-abiotic-oil-that-supplies-you-with-more-on-an-almost-as-needed-basis is a favorite.  But Mike had long since lost his patience with this pipedream.  And as usual when something happened that got under his skin, he interpreted the act as willfully directed towards him, just as when he heard someone use the phrase, "a voice from the wilderness" or,"crossing the Rubicon," he assumed they had read his website or his book.  He forgot that he himself had plucked those phrases from ancient texts.
   Both for better and for worse, this self-oriented interpretation of events was all part of that furnace of energy that burned so fiercely within him, propelling him into the heart of government wrongdoing to reveal the truth or, when that avenue was blocked, self-destruction.  What he lost sight of in the process was other people; their histories and motives, whether innocent or otherwise.  He saw them only in so far as they related to him; his efficient focus ("I am, after all, German,") dismissing anything else as chaff.
   For instance, the third guy on the plane might have been to other countries as well.  Anyway, it's not as though the countries Mike had been to were unusual.
   On the other hand, we must never lose sight of the adage for which Mike was the poster-boy:  Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not following you.
   Nowhere was his Mike-centered stance more apparent than in his relationship with women, as witnessed by the following conversation about his life:
   "Any regrets?"
   "My girlfriend in high school. I dumped her when I went to college, moving on to bigger, better things. That was a mistake. She really loved me." 
   He used to describe me that way too:  "She loves me unconditionally."  Never mind that it's hard enough to do for one's own child and I sure as hell didn't do it with Mike; his descriptions of former relationships, if positive, were always about how much the woman loved him; never about how much he loved her.
   Another time, we were watching a movie in which a flapper lolled atop a piano, crooning a torch song. She was dressed in a short, sequin dress and smiled beckoningly. 
   "That's what I call a real woman," Mike enthused. 
   No response from me. 
   "Not because she's blond," he hastened to add. 
   But of course, that wasn't the reason for my silence. The flapper was beautiful and sexy. Her manner said, at least to a man given to fantasy, "I'll do anything you want."  But the one thing she assuredly was not was real. 
   One day when he was crying, I thought: It's two years since he left LA for Ashland. In that period he's moved four times, each time with a, "Fuck you" attitude. Had that stance been cultivated so he wouldn't get attached? Is that why he never asked me anything, or got to know me apart from how I related to him?  If so, I doubt he was aware of what he was doing, so instinctive had the behavior become.  He had "more important" things to think about.
   I did make him see the world from a different vantage point for a moment on January 11, 2008, shortly before he left.  (I happened to record the date and thus offer it.)
   "Do you think it's a man's world?" I asked a propos of a provocation, though I no longer remember what.
   "No... But men have certainly fucked it up." 
   "They wouldn't have been able to do that if it hadn't been a man's world."
   Another time, he betrayed a more expansive view without any prodding.
   That vignette had an inauspicious beginning:  I passed the bedroom where he was watching a show that seemed to be about modern gladiators. Two men in helmets were beating each other with what looked like clubs.  
   In the foreground, an earnest man explained, "There's been an assault on masculinity." 
   The scene might have been a reject, ("Boys Gone Wild," perhaps) from Saturday Night Live. 
   The next night, however, Mike unwittingly redeemed himself by watching Nine to Five, a movie about secretaries unionizing.   
   Although he could be gentle and kind as a lover, sex was the pre-eminent arena in which his tendency towards extremes worked itself into a frenzy.  Undoubtedly, it was one of the reasons he was so antsy to leave.  
   I was practicing octaves on a keyboard whose keys, while silent with respect to pitch, clacked when pressed. 
   "I don't know why but that sounds very sexual to me," Mike said. 
   "Life is a Rorschach," I replied, quoting my friend the clinical psychologist.  
   Not long afterwards, I ran into him on the street. He didn't notice me because he was talking to a young woman who was staying with one of our neighbors. 
   I waved. 
   "We just got back from the bagel shop," Mike explained, gesturing to the bags they were each carrying.  He adopted an attitude of nonchalance - which would have turned into defiance if challenged - as though to say, "You know that on a personal level, you're history anyway; when I leave in a couple of weeks, it'll just be official."  I did know that so the meeting didn't faze me. 
   The young woman, however, did not know it and gave a wan smile. 
   January 12, 2008 
   Two weeks 'til he leaves, the morning of the 29th.  Right now. he’s watching the military channel.  He says it gives him a sense of what the Powers That Be are working on.  Having heard that, I sometimes watch with him but at the moment, the show is about different sorts of guns, a subject which means a great deal to Mike but nothing to me so I have immersed myself in research at the computer.
   Mike comes in, settling into the wicker chair that I bought when a friend complained I didn’t have an arm chair.       
   “We’re going to have lots of long talks before I leave...” 
   Reminiscence?  Reflections on life?  The comment was a reference to the conversations we used to have when he first arrived and was in such a distraught state.  He once complained to his shrink that they’d mysteriously stopped.  I said it was by his choice; he no longer needed them.   
   “...Where I get down on my knees and thank you for saving my life,” he continued.
   “That’ll take two minutes.”
   He laughed and got up to make himself a drink before returning to the bedroom.
   That was the last of the "long talks."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mike's Story Part 64 - Spellbound


   After we got back from Oregon, I was doing the shopping on Montague Street when I saw that our videostore was going out of business.  That was too bad but the silver lining was the resulting sale.  I snapped up some bargains including Spellbound, a movie about - among other things - psychoanalysis and repressed memories.  Gregory Peck is the troubled new director of a psychiatric institution in which Ingrid Bergman practices.
   "You can take that back," Mike said, "I've seen it."

   "I haven't."

   A week later he said again, "You can take that back; I've seen it a hundred times."

   On Christmas day, we had nothing to do until five when we were due at my mother's; Mike was on the computer so I watched the movie.  

   A while later, Mike came in, as he usually did, to watch TV while eating breakfast.  Having seen how unsettled he'd become by the prospect of Spellbound, I offered to turn it off.

   "No! Keep it on!" he said, staring intently at the screen.

   The scene playing was a dream sequence with surreal sets designed, appropriately, by Salvador Dali.  The dream figure (I don't remember if it was Peck himself, whose dream it had been) entered a casino where cards were being dealt for a game of blackjack. Two of the cards were blank. 

   Finished with his cereal, Mike cleaned the table.

   "Do me a favor," he said on his way out, "Tell me how it ends."

   I continued watching the movie as he went back to his backgammon game, cursing every so often. This was unusual but I didn't feel obliged to respond.

   When the movie was over, I got up to make coffee.

   "I'm having a panic attack,' he said. "The first in nine months. I'm not suicidal. What was the end? Who did it?"  (There had been a murder.)
   "The head of the hospital. Gregory Peck's amnesia was because he'd accidentally killed his brother when they were children."
   "That was his mother," Mike said.  "OK."  (He had misheard; Peck's mother had nothing to do with it.)  "What was the significance of the blank cards in the blackjack game, please? My parents were addicted blackjack players."

   "The blank cards meant he felt guilty. And the number 21 referred to the 21 Club in New York."

   Mike was relieved: No association with his parents; no one, including me, was messing with his mind.

   "That movie stirred things up for me. I'm having a powerful reaction. I’m that character [the guilt-tormented Gregory Peck.]  And you’re my Ingred Bergman [who used her understanding of psychoanalysis to unravel the meaning of the dream.]  I'm making notes on it for my novel. This is all going to Venice. And I'm going to find a good psychiatrist when I'm there."


"I'm having the biggest sense of activity that I've had in ten years," Mike said a few days later. Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated two days before, on December 27, ratcheting up the tension around the world. "Don't ask me what. I don't know. On February 3, I'm going to be fifty-seven and I plan to spend that birthday in Culver City and that will be the best birthday party I've ever had. I'll have a bike; maybe by then I'll even have a dog. A dog is necessary to my sanity."

   "The superego, the ego, the id and the dog."

   'I feel my powers coming back, like when I was a young policeman, able to shoot.  I knew every street.

   'Steve [Alten's] book is coming out; the 9/11 movement is furious but this will help Steve; those assholes have been ridiculed. [Mike later changed his position on Alten.]  The only one that hasn't been is me. 

   'I'm going to write my novel and this time I will spare nobody, not [he named a prominent figure in the "9/11 Truth" movement;] nobody. I'll use X's emails; why the fuck not? 
   'I thought of a title: The Ombudsman. Do you know what an ombudsman is?"

   "Of course. The EPA ombudsman was one of our greatest allies.  But when Nabokov wanted to call his autobiography, Speak Mnemosyne, his publisher said, 'Never give a book a title people can't pronounce.'  You don't want them getting embarrassed.

   'I testified at a hearing for the Ombudsman; no two Congressmen pronounced it the same way."

   "Things are happening very fast. I leave Thursday [for a brief trip to hire a private investigator in connection with his lawsuit and to prepare for his permanent move back] and I don't know how I'm going to stay in my skin until then. I expect to come back [here] having signed a lease on a house."

   "I thought this trip was more about the P.I."

   "And that's another wild card. [X] must be about seventy right now. He was damage control when I was at LAPD but he did it with love. He owes me one and he knows it.

   'This is my way of letting the powers that be know what I'm doing. I'm not coming after them; just after those people. And with Rupert Murdoch's deep pockets, X could be interested.

   'God may just have set this up. I'm coming back and if I do, it'll be like Lazarus.

   'I'm going to behave very differently this time. I'm going to be very careful in the friends I choose. I'm going to have a moat around the house, with alligators.

   'Lots of people are thrilled I'm coming back: [He named his LAPD friend and the guy who was involved in making a movie about the collapse of industrial civilization. ]

   'And don't ask me how, but I see me and Sean Penn colliding, not in a bad way. Maybe my job will be to protect him from the people who're trying to sabotage him."

   Penn was in the process of divorcing his wife.  Mike thought that in his midlife crisis, he would return to Santa Monica.

   "And I'm going to miss you so much. In some ways, the dog will replace you."

   "In some ways, you'll prefer the dog. But maybe you already know that and are too polite to say so." 

   "You're a package deal."

   A tacit acknowledgment that I'd hit the nail on the head. 

Mike's Story Part 63 - Oregon

   I came across the complete account of the time Mike was bitten on the testicle.
   He and at least one other cop had been summoned by a sergeant, 6' 5''.  When they arrived, they found him cornered by a small, wiry man holding a 35" T.V. above his head.  The guy had a glazed look in his eye and a thin sheen of perspiration all over, telltale signs of PCBs. The cops wrestled him onto a gurney with Mike at the head. They managed to get plastic handcuffs on him and canvas restraints on his legs. The guy broke the restraints but not without consequence; his shin bone now hung out. In a rage, he bit Mike on the testicle upon which Mike lashed out, breaking the guy's skull.
   After arriving at the hotel in Ashland, we watched CNN until it was time to go out in search of dinner.  California was burning and for reasons I no longer remember, the report showed an actual burn center.
   "That might be the one where I went," Mike commented.
   "When they grafted your ass onto your arm?'
   As I'd anticipated, the residual pain from the fall on his thumb was more intense than he'd hoped and that evening he stayed in bed while I settled in at the local internet cafĂ©.
   October 30, 2007  Ashland Police Department Detective Randy Snow says that Mike's former female employee, now the plaintiff in the sexual harassment lawsuit against him, finally took her CVSA (Computer Voice Stress Analyzer test, reputed to be more accurate than a polygraph) after having her baby and against the advice of everyone including her lawyer.  She has passed with flying colors.  This means the other employee whom Mike suspects of having executed the burglary would have acted alone.  That doesn't comport with his original scenario in which the perps were a meth ring. 

   We went to Mike's interview with the detectives where, to his surprise and gratification, they allowed me to sit in on the entire proceedings.  (This was what he'd brought me to Oregon to witness.)  Mike came away with a positive sense from the meeting; the detectives "apologized" to him.  My take differed from his more than I let on; I noted caution in their manner.  The apology was grudging, couched in meaningless terms which would cause the whole concoction to evaporate under scrutiny.  But this may have been for CYA reasons; the case was becoming "cold" with a rapidity they must have found embarrassing.   
   We wondered if we'd run into the former female employee in Ashland; she lived nearby.
   "I'm going to make sure they take away her baby," Mike announced, citing reasons I won't go into.  As a mother, I was chilled.  But I understood his logic:  He blamed her for taking away his "baby," which was FTW.

   Next stop on the itinerary was Eugene.  Mike did the driving.  I have a license but zero experience so my job was to massage his thumb to keep it nimble.  Any restriction on his future mobility such as arthritis would affect his ability to shoot. 
   I'd built up a a sizable amount of anger at him over the months that he'd stayed at my apartment.  As in the laws of physics, so in the laws of psychology:  There is no action without a reaction.  I'd swallowed some mega-insults; at first, because he'd been depressed to the point of suicidality.  When he got stronger, I answered back, but rarely with the full force of the resentment I harbored.  Only once did that righteous rage explode.  I think it was when he grew angry at my reluctance to shoulder full responsibility for FTW by putting the fees on my credit card.  For anyone who missed that post, the fees themselves weren't the issue; I'd be reimbursed.  The issue was liability in the event of a copyright or any other kind of lawsuit.  Those damages can be in the hundreds of thousands, even if no money was made by the defendant or lost by the plaintiff.
   Mike had responded to my outburst by thrusting out his stomach and using it to push me back as though to taunt, "I can knock you down;" atavistic cop behavior of the kind that provokes protesters to scream, "Pig!" and get themselves arrested.
   He and I were alike in more ways than he knew.  That, and not, as he maintained, my "unconditional love," was the source of whatever insight I'd provided when he was depressed.  Did he have any idea how close he came to feeling me take advantage of his vulnerability at those moments when his thumb was in my hands?  (Have a ball, Freudians.)  If so, he put on a good show of obliviousness, letting out orgasmic shouts of relief from the massage.  But I wasn't interested in giving him orgasms.  Sometimes it felt as though only the knowledge of his breaking the drug addict's skull kept me in check.

   Lying on a fault line, we learned, Eugene has a 100% probability of seeing an earthquake at some point in the next century. So the building codes require heavy-duty reinforcement including, in one office block we passed, concrete Xs across the windows.  The supermarket was even crowned with reinforced concrete parapets.
   Mike knew that Eugene, like much of Oregon, was alert to the advent of societal collapse, in view of which those parapets didn't portend anything benign for the populace.
   The elevator door at our hotel was doubled by a steel door, ostensibly as additional fire protection but it gave the place the feel of a detention center.
   "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" asked Mike.
   I was. The architecture of Eugene would provide excellent sets for a movie that one of Mike's friends in LA was planning about the end of human industrial civilization with its attendant martial law and interment camps.
   The idea turned him on.  "Fuck Ashland; it's Eugene," he enthused.  "It's more sustainable, a better transition for you. And something tells me I can be more dangerous from here."   He was referring to his prospective lawsuit.
   "You'll be more shadowy to the people in Ashland."
   He also had a following in Eugene.  An activist friend threw a potluck dinner in his honor where the guests were deferential and appreciative, one of them bringing an organic lemon cake that read, "Welcome Home, Mike."
   We were staying in a hotel where everyone else was under thirty so there were cute gimmicks like a blackboard on each door with chalk for any artistically-minded guests.  I drew a picture of Mike watching CNN. 
   "I didn't know you could do that," he said and took a photograph of it.  (Mostly, I can't "do that," as witnessed by my illustrations in Writer Wannabe Seeks Brush With Death.)  If anyone comes across that sketch on one of Mike's USB sticks, please let me know. 
   We went to a packed bar, the hub of the Portland blues scene, and heard his friend, the petite powerhouse, Lisa Mann, belt, "You ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog."  Mike was behind her on stage, dancing himself into a sweat.  When, in a middle verse, she called out his name, he howled like a wounded hound. Afterwards, he showed everyone pictures of the pins in his thumb.  Those who didn't spring back in disgust stared, puzzled.
   "It's not a magic trick," I said. "They really went all the way through."

   I was at the local coffee shop which offered free internet service with any purchase; twenty minute sessions requested, but if business was slack, you could stay all day.
   I'd spent several hours there already, while Mike napped.
   ("How much do you love me?" he had asked with puppy-dog eyes.
   "A whole lot."
   "Enough to finish the laundry by yourself?"
   "Fuck, no.")
   I'd just ordered a bran muffin, my second interaction with this particular counterperson, a round-faced cherub (they were all college students) in a wool cap.
   She handed me the muffin with an addendum: "If you need a place to stay, you can stay at my house."
   I was taken aback. We'd had no prior conversation beyond the ingredients of various items on the menu. Was this androgynous-looking young woman lonely? Or were the people who hogged the computer there normally homeless?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mike's Story Part 62 - Lessons from Los Angeles

By Jenna Orkin

October 11, 2007
On the plane to LA
    "See out there on the back of the wing?" Mike said. "Those are the flaps and the helions. When the plane takes off, they're down. You have more air passing over the plane than under it to increase lift on takeoff."
    I had a flashback-by-proxy to a talk that must have once taken place between Mike and his father. Only now Mike himself was Dad and I was little Mike.
    "See that jet of water?" A stream arced from the front of the wing. "That's the [I missed the term.] I'm talking a lot because my thumb is hurting again. I don't want to take another pill yet."
    He closed his eyes and concentrated on breathing, like a student in a Lamaze class.
    A couple of hours later:
    "Those look like the Rockies. My father had a memorable way of explaining things. Once I asked him, 'Daddy, what's the Continental Divide?' He took out his penis and started peeing. 'If I pee on one side of the Continental Divide, it goes into the Pacific. On the other side, it goes into the Atlantic.'"
    We did whatever people do to pass the time in the air until we reached California.
    "We're probably approaching from the south," Mike said, looking out the window.
    "I thought planes that went from New York to L.A. went in a straight line."
    "There are thousands of flights at any given moment. Remember in my book, on 9/11 they had to ground thirteen thousand flights? Pilots have check points. They have to report when they get to each one."
    "Oh. I thought it was like a highway; they just left a certain space between. Anyway, if there are thousands of flights and we're looking out for dozens of miles, how come we can't see any planes?"
    "No; they track them. They go like this." He made little crooked motions with his hand.
    "This is what cops and body guards learn and people who have to drive defensively: Make sure you can see the wheels of the car in front of you when you stop. That way you can get out without having to back up."
    A great teacher, so long as the subject was not related to his investigative reporting. For that, you had to glean whatever you could from FTW itself. Rice Farmer and I understood that which was one reason why we'd lasted as the main behind-the-scenes researchers.
    But even without that most coveted information, there were still Things You Could Only Learn from Mike Ruppert, such as, How to Mess Up a Polygraph: "Every time you answer a question yes or no, clench your asshole."  Perhaps the ploy also works for Computer Voice Stress Analyzer tests because his own in the sexual harassment lawsuit came back "inconclusive."
Los Angeles
   We drove to the home of Mike's best friend from LAPD and his wife. After all the travel, as soon as I tumbled out of the car, I threw up on the lawn. Fortunately, I hadn't eaten anything so the result was invisible. If Mike's friend noticed the indelicacy as he came out of the house, he was too polite to mention it even when I greeted him from a nearly prone position on the grass.
    "He's a cop," said Michael Kane when I described the scene to him later. "He's seen people toss their cookies."

Day Two
    We were about to have the grand tour of LA but not the usual rubber-necking of movie star estates; this was Mike's memory lane.
    There was not enough time for brunch so we headed for Sunset Boulevard, doing a detour to Rodeo Drive, the 57th Street/Champs Elysees of Los Angeles, featuring the same names: Tiffany's, Armani, Hermes. The main difference was there were no pedestrians; no delivery guys, secretaries or commuters heading somewhere else. The few people we saw looked as though they belonged there; that was where they'd gotten their $1000 sandals.
    In a Bentley directly ahead of us, the profile of an expressionless woman with a platinum blonde ponytail looked to the right. She could have been played by, or playing, Grace Kelly.
    "Probably married to an executive," said Mike.
   The light changed and she drove out of frame. Cut.
    That's another thing: No one there, at least none of the women, was over fifty. By that time, they're probably divorced or staying home like Arab wives, not daring to show their faces, at least, not unless they've "had some work done."
    At Malibu Beach, two thousand crosses stood in the sand, symbolizing the American casualties in Iraq. An explanatory sign added the number of Iraqi dead: 655,000 to date. If they had placed a cross for each Iraqi as well, the exhibit would have taken up the entire beach.
    From there to the Gump Shrimp Company, named for Forrest Gump who "founded it with his Vietnam buddy...
    'This is the boathouse where I sang after I left LAPD."
    At Venice Beach he said, "Ah! Now you see why we didn't have brunch? I've been holding out for a cheeseburger at Hinano's.
    'This is where I got your T-Shirt." He had gotten me three on a previous trip: One said, "Ashland;" another, with an embroidered shark, "Bite me;" but the one to which he was referring read, "What part of [fearsome passage of piano music] don't you understand?"
    We visited a freak show in front of which a hawker stood on the boardwalk holding a live two-headed turtle that craned out of its shell in both directions like some sort of Hindu god. Inside were jars containing the preserved remains of a six-legged pig, a similarly afflicted squirrel, a two-headed fox and pictures of the wretched employees of P.T. Barnum.
    Back outside, I bought bird- and tongue whistles for our hosts as well as my nieces and took a picture of Mike with a man in a suit who had painted his skin silver.
    The passing overhead of a putter of helicopters (if there's a term for a group of helicopters, wiki-answers doesn't have it) prompted the next chapter in my aerospace education:
    "Lumination is measured in candle strength. The search lights on those helicopters are a million candles. If they were on the ground pointing at you and you were fifteen feet away, they'd set your pants on fire."
    Thence to the original FTW headquarters.
    "This is where it all began. I wrote FTW here for the first six years. I moved my mother across the street so I could take care of her three times a month. Then when she died, I moved into her apartment."
    His mother's apartment was in the old Oliver Hardy estate, he said, which now housed retired actors. I envisioned forgotten movie stars - the victims of scurrilous accountants - mingling with down and out actors who'd never made it above U-5 (under five lines, which allowed them to be paid at a lower rate.)
    "After taking care of my mother and then my father, I got tired of all the old people."
    As he drove on, he expounded on the sights: "All this used to be wetlands but Steven Spielberg built it up...
    'We're in the heart of the airline industry." He nodded towards the headquarters of Lockheed Martin, Howard Hughes' former estate, after which we drove on Military Intelligence Memorial Highway.
    "I didn't know it had died," I said.
    He said that Sepulveda is the longest street in the US - thirty miles long; he pointed out where the Pacific Rim meets the Continental US fault line - "That's why there are hot springs," - and mentioned a town which was at the exact midpoint between San Francisco and Seattle.
    My notes continue with unrelated conversation fragments as I remembered them later:
    "I can kiss my own ass." He had gotten a skin graft from his butt to his arm because of second and third degree burns. "They peel it off like a cheese."
    He said Lincoln may have been assassinated because he had pissed off the Seward banking family.
    Ahead, Mt. Shasta was sticking up through the clouds. We'd just emerged from the San Joaquin Valley which was completely flat. It used to be a lake bed, Mike said, continuing that California and Florida together supply half the country's citrus fruit. The implications of water shortages here were intensifying exponentially by the minute. I resolved to reread Joan Didion's Holy Water and watch Chinatown again.
    He said he wanted to call his sustainable house Out of the Way as in: When the shit hits the fan, you get out of the way.
    What a different person he was when in his element: expansive, generous with information, not interested in putting down the other guy even when that other guy was at her most abjectly ignorant.
    And surely, somewhere he was conscious of telling me all this because he knew that one day I'd be writing about it.