About LooneyA lifetime ago, I used to troll on Usenet. If you don't know what that is, it was a cesspit where fools would daily parade their folly and nasty shits like me would get their kicks by pointing it out to them. Great fun would be had by all.
One particular fool used the screenname Looney. He was a typical American evangelical Christian: rightwing, dumb and opinionated without anything to back his opinions up. So we had a nice joust from time to time.
But a curious thing happened to Looney. He woke the fuck up. Now, most of us never wake the fuck up. we plough the same sterile furrows year after year, learn nothing, grow not at all. But Looney rethought everything he knew. I can't recall what began him on that journey but watching the journey has been incredible. It's like he ripped the blinkers off.
So we became what passes for friends on the internet.
A few years ago, on a brief trip to the States, I met up with Looney in LA. We travelled together up to San Francisco and to his home in King City. I had been a little nervous about turning virtual friends into real people -- me being me, I thought they would not like me in person. But I needn't have been. We got on like the proverbial house on fire.
I realised that in him I had found something rare: a truly good man. Not just because he had adjusted his politics to something more palatable, nor because he had unshackled himself from religion. But because he exemplifies thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity, both materially and spiritually.
Sometimes I get mired in self-pity or self-scourging to the point of drowning in it but one thing has often brought me out of that and back to safer waters: that a deeply decent and genuine man like Looney will have me as a friend. Is it too much to say I sometimes feel his arm around my shoulder? I don't think it is.
When my faith in humankind is running low, when I feel like I am smothered in assholes, when I feel like the shit is neck high, I remind myself, there are good people, I know it for sure. I will never drown while he is my friend. Thanks Looney for giving me that feeling.