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Dear John: (a different one)

Dear John: You were an accomplished and mature individual, especially for seventeen. You had a Real Job, for one thing. I set my alarm almost an hour early every school day, so I could turn on the radio and listen to the AM talk show you produced. I couldn't stand the asshole whose show it was - neither could you, I recall - but I listened for the once every couple of weeks that he talked to you on the air.

And you were lead singer of your band. Not that that meant much, only that you were the one with a voice - the other guys were pretty horrible singers. But they were definitely the controlling personalities... You really had talent, though. A lot of talents. You made an excellent Tin Woodsman. And you played piano, too. I learned to appreciate the Beatles from listening to you.

It's no wonder that you were the Crush of the Year for the non-band artistically-minded geek girls, I guess. (Digression: Why on earth do girls handle shared hopeless crushes so well? It has to be hopeless, of course, or raging jealousy kicks in. But in my experience, girls love to share the hopeless ones. We compare notes, making sure everyone knows all the details about What He Said and What He Did and What It All Means. And we make joint battle plans. And any success by any one of us, no matter how small, is treated as a success for everyone... at least until it starts being significant. And I wish I could claim this was just an adolescent thing, but I saw it in action right through the end of college. Given fan clubs in general, I suspect it's any time there exists the shared hopeless crush. Isn't it bizarre behavior?) You were unfailingly sweet and courteous to all of your unofficial fan club, too, which was very rare. Although, in retrospect, I wonder whether you realized that I was part of that number. I always assumed you did, but thinking back on one or two things, I wonder if perhaps you really just thought of me as a friend. For example, I remember the one day you came into class exasperated and spent ten minutes telling me about your morning. That was the day that everyone invited you to the proms - the one thing that hadn't been coordinated. You told me how awkward it was to not only turn down all these girls who liked you, but also to have to explain that you had a new girlfriend, for the first time in ages. At the time, my only thought was how glad I was that you'd started on that before *I* asked you to the prom, and wondering if that was why you'd launched right into it. Now, I think perhaps you just didn't know, because I just can't see you approaching it that way if you'd realized. And it's believable, because I was by far the least serious of the crowd. (and darned lucky too, because I ended up with a date to the prom that meant much more in the long run) Considering that, I have even more respect for you, because honest friendship was so very rare at that time.