I had many friends in college but a favorite of mine was my friend Saul. Saul was the rarest kind of liberal one who stood for the rights of everybody to have free speech. He was a Communists in days before he knew me but he grew out of the phase.
Saul looked much like Shaggy of Scooby Doo. His voice was soft and relaxing and memorable to anyone that heard it. I developed an interesting imitation that I called psuedo Saul. His bereaved cousins insisted that I do the immitation and laughed because I did the substance as well as the voice. His voice so distinctive that my grandmother never remembered his name she called him " the fellow with the soothing voice".
Saul and I were an odd set of friends as I was an still am very much a straight arrow
and he was a charming rouge. He was always into the next get rich quick gimmick but that was the price one paid for his friendships. Saul never tried to hustle me largely because he saw me angry just once and it scared him. The incedent is forgotten but I picked up an idiot with my left hand and hung him on a coat rack.
" I didn't know you were left handed" he said. I told him I am not left handed and left it at that. I do not like fighting and the idiot was intent on provoking me so I left him hanging.
Saul battled drug and dependency problems all of his short life. In the end he was killed by diabetes no doubt exacerbated by his alcoholism . His ending may be more merciful then I thought at first. Saul never had to grow up or take responsability for his misadventures. He will forever be the friendly rouge as I grow older and more cantankerous.
He once fell deeply in love with a lovely girl named Angela. I arranged their first date and the chemistry was there. Angie was like a butterfly sweet and charming but just not too deep. One day the buttterfly left and Saul was just never the same. His remaining years his rougish bit was a tad more sinister. Sadly, he never let on to all but his closest friends how hurt he was.
Yet there is a lesson about my friend that all of us can remember. He lived a short life but ultimately it was too easy in many ways. He was so bright that he could get by with a fraction of the effort that lesser people could. Yet because he was so brilliant and unaccustomed to hard work and perserverence he could not make it in the real world. Love and sucsess do not come in a bottle and the best of us are judged by our families and the friends and company we keep.
I am thankful for knowing my good friend Saul. In the end his own words said to me over a beer and my Mountain Dew were prophetic. "We do not get to write our own final chapter".