This is ONE OF 2 responses to VC 29 Suzanne 2 ("Topics for Paul")...
"Hearing about photographs" - this conjures up an amusing mental image. You've now seen one of my photographs, Suzanne; what would you say about it?
"Agonies of my job" - these are plenty, although well-meaning associates like to remind me that there are no agonies, relatively speaking, until there is no job. I'm actually beginning to actively question this logic. Meanwhile John, at least, has heard a lifetime or more of job-related agonies from me. Maybe the two of you could get together and chat about this over a Cappuccino.
"traumatic experiences from his childhood" - nothing comes immediately to mind. Probably I'm repressing them all. You should take this as a very bad sign, and start the analysis immediately.
"some failed relationship stories" - It's been rather more than a year since my last failed relationship, but back then I managed three in pretty short order. Here are the ultra-condensed versions of those stories:
One woman cancelled a date with me the previous night, and then used the free evening to get engaged. She's now married, maybe even divorced.
One woman met "Mr. Right" on a blind date the night before we went out the last time. They are now married and homeowners, and I expect reports of children on the way any time now.
Another woman had me over for dinner one evening, along with another guy ("Remember Ray? I invited him because he fixes this wonderful Shrimp dish..."). Ray didn't do any of the cooking that night, at least not while I was there. Robin and Ray married this spring, and had a baby girl a month or two ago. We remain good friends.
A current folksinger performs a song titled "Victim/Volunteer", the point of which is, I think, that some people are "volunteers" for relationship-abuse or failure. I subscribe to this belief, and cheerfully present myself as supporting evidence.
My current problem is that I haven't met any [single] women worth dating in the last year. More likely, I have, but I've been too myopic to see them. WAIT - actually I *did* meet one a few months back, on a weekend visit with John and Betsy (Sorry, Drury, I don't mean you. ).
Do you suppose she would consent to a date, were we ever to find ourselves in the same city?
N.B. As originally conceived, this section would have finished up with an invitation to go bowling. The "kinder, gentler me" finally decided to leave that part out, but what do you think? Which way does it play better? Eagerly awaiting your reply...
"Does he hate his parents?" - Currently we're in the midst of an uncomfortable truce. They think I should get married, provide a couple of grandkids, and stop spending my money so foolishly. Oh, and move back to Seattle, so they can more easily facilitate the other goals. I, on the other hand, suspect that marriage and children represent the worst possible kind of money-management. Not that this was ever even a minor consideration on my part, mind you, but it makes for a defensible position.
"or have murderous impulses" - only in John's direction, around deadline time.
"or have some unanswered philosophical questions that we could help him become more confused about? I think he ought to tell all, leaving nothing to the imagination, bare his soul through voice cards." - I'm so confused, I don't even know what questions to ask. Why don't you just pick some answers and send them along? Surely I can find somewhere to apply them.