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Not sure, I may have posted this story before. Just in case, here it is again, in a different light: For most of my life, I have attracted weird people – people who are different – without really trying, I have been very often befriended by people outside the box. Or, vice-versa. I say this, because it is ironic that I am often covertly or overtly accused of being “close-minded” or “judgmental,” which I’ve come to realize usually means I just don’t align properly with your beliefs. Anyway, the story: I was in Mr. Mears’s 11th grade American History class. One of the above noted “odd-balls” [a category I freely admit I probably belong to, as well] – a loner and quiet young man, who I will now choose not to name, started hanging around with me. Turned out he was a really likeable guy with a great sense of humor and we became great friends. Soon, he became integrated into my close, neighborhood-based, circle of friends. Two years later, we graduated. But this fella & my friends continued to hang out together. He even played with the band we had formed from time to time. Oh, I must digress. While still in HS, I fell sick with pneumonia or something and was out of school for a week, or so. This lad visited me at my bedside, brought flowers, lit candles, and just sat with me for prolonged periods of time. Times were much simpler then, and I was naive. I never gave it a second thought. OK … so now we’re caught up. One night, this guy and my other friends had a little party at somebody’s house. For one reason or another, I was not there. They all got stoned on pot, and this guy spilled the beans. He was in love with me! Of course, that got back to me, but it never changed anything. Eventually, he went off to a Trappist Monk monastery in DC.

We wrote each other for several years. He was gay; I am definitely not; he went off to try & deal with that; and we remained friends. There are a couple of you out there who know exactly what I am talking about. A few years later, he left the religious order and I ran into him in some restaurant on LI somewhere … we had a few laughs and that was that. We’ve lost touch since, but I still remember him fondly. I am repulsed by his behavior [I left out the gory details] – as some might be by some of mine over the years – but, gay or not, he was a good guy and a great friend. So, please save your “judgments” of me until you have walked in my shoes. I express my opinions and my views of the world. If you can’t deal with what I say, simply delete my account from your view. Consciously being “tolerant” can be the biggest impediment to understanding another’s views.

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