Reasonably Honest Dave

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher Lokkal

As Manly as They Come

As perilous as it now is to define life in such terms, I dare say that I am very in touch with my feminine side. By this I mean, among other things, that I feel for other people. I enter into the psychologies of characters in films and books. I am particularly prone to bursting into tears when a character is relieved from great anxiety, for example, when a loved one is made safe or a difficult passage accomplished. Just this morning I teared up when I concluded listening to A Tale of Two Cities; "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done..."

I cried also a few months ago after hearing that Chris McCarthy, a good friend from northern Vermont, had disappeared. We had not been in touch for years. He'd been missing for many months, including a winter. (There are some big woods up there.) A day or two after hearing the news, James Taylor's Fire and Rain (an album I got at the very impressionable age of 13) started rolling around in my head "Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone... I always thought that I'd see you again," and, talking with my girlfriend about my sadness, I started bawling like a baby.

Chris was as manly as they come. Me, not so much. However, I can be pretty tough when the moment calls for it. I do get along well with alpha males. My father was the fifth first-born son. My brother was the sixth. My brother's son, if he had one first born, would be the proverbial Seventh Son, lauded by the black man song, "I'm the one, I'm the one, the one they call the Seventh Son."

As Straight as They Come

I have always been attractive to gay men. I caused quite a stir on San Francisco's Castro Street back in 1979 one sunny afternoon, just walking along. Back in naturopathic medical school, my gay physical diagnosis teacher became speechless mid-sentence in a lecture when I entered the classroom after getting my hair styled. He just stared dumbfounded as I walked down the center aisle. Everyone turned to see the source of his astonishment. Acknowledging his admiration, I gave him a coquetishly swish and took my seat.

I've never been sexually attracted to other men, but I have greatly enjoyed the company of gay men, and still do. We get along. My gay-friendly persona helps a great deal when I am selling my girlfriend's woven clothes to women in the Saturday Market. While I am adjusting our flagship shawl around their bodies, demonstrating the many ways to wear it, I act gay. Women expect their fashion designer to be gay; it puts them at ease in a subliminal way. (Anything for the sale.)

Back in the days when I was hanging out with the chassidic rabbis, my 10 year old daughter asked me, "Why do you use a Yiddish accent when you are talking with Rabbi Gopin?", who himself spoke with a strong Yiddish accent. My response was, "He doesn't notice his accent or mine." I know little about Neuro Linguistic Programming, but I do know that it advocates adopting the physical habit of the client to gain their trust. Sitting with your arms crossed or with your hands on your kness, if they are sitting with their arms crossed or with their hands on their knees puts them at ease in a subliminal way.

As Honest as They Come

Harvey Knowles went on to teach at the best prep school in the US, Philips Academy. When he was teaching at Loomis-Chaffee School (somewhere in the top 10 prep schools in the country, the last I heard) and I a student there, I took every class he offered. I had other, very qualified teachers, but it was he who best introduced me to the study of literature and caused to bloom my considerable talent to interpret literature and to write. At Loomis-Chaffee we had private, weekly 30-minute theme-conferences with certain of our instructors; why did you write this? why did you write it this way?... One semester, as I was taking two classes with Mr Knowles, I had, each week, a private 60-minute session with him. During one of these most formative hours, our discussion led to his asking me if I thought it was always better to know the truth. I replied in the affirmative. He replied, "That's very Greek of you."

When the angels came to inform Abraham that a son would be born to him, his wife, Sarah, who wass eavesdropping, said to herself, "Now that Abraham and I are so old, we're going to have a son," as if to say to God, "What took you so long?" The angel, continued to Abraham, "Although Sarah says, 'I am too old to have a son,' [she was menopausal] still a year from now you will." The rabbis are quick to point out that that is not what Sarah said; in fact she said "Abraham and I are so old". The angels did not want to repeat Sarah's calling Abraham old. From this we learn that a white lie is permissable to keep peace in the home. That's very Jewish.

One lie leads to a dozen, and if you have to do something in secret, it's usually a sin. But the truth can be a slippery fish and being right often doen't count for much. I don't always tell the whole truth, but I don't lie, least of all when someone guesses the truth. Of course, subliminal suggestion being what it is, you ought to be suspicous when someone tells you that they don't lie; "Does this color shawl go well with my skin tone?" Newton was of the opinion that we could know (velocity and position, for example). Quantum indeterminancy, invoking probability waves, tells us that reality is not written in stone.

Thirty-three years ago in Seattle, where I was finishing my naturopathic medical education, there was a used appliance store called Reasonably Honest Dave's. That's the way I like to think of myself, Reasonably Honest, Reasonably Straight, Reasonably Manly Dave.

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photo: Alessandro Bo (cropped)

Dr David started this magazine because he could write and liked to communicate. He fully expected that in a town like San Miguel he could find authors to publish in addition to himself. Well, practically no one is submitting anything. Stubborn as he is, he continues, now publishing himself, and a faithful cadre of authors and photographers. His motto continues to be, "It's hard to be ahead of your time."

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