November 20, 2002

Written about a co-worker I respect
Bigger than life, there once was a nearly mythical centaur named "Dute" Holland who managed to hold together the paradox of a pluperfectly banal work life at a hokey company with a highly charged intellectual life. He refused to be a simple automaton living life in binary terms and lusting for the next issue of PC Monthly. He shuffled a job, a wife and a daughter with the feat of having read most of the Western canon. Ruthlessly logical, he was allergic to patriotism and faith for he was a realist and pessimist and could see or imagine the flaws of both. He would not be suckered. His only compromise with society was the trading of the best part of every day for a paycheck that provided everything but financial independence.

He is, of course, perfectly of his time. There is nothing in the least anachronistic about him either in his job skills or his worldview. His rebelliousness is limited to complaining about company and government, easy targets indeed. There was no sense that he was rebellious in any serious sense; he would fit the mold of any post-Enlightenment individual, subscribing to the god of rationality and the tenets of the average Upper West Side pseudo-intellectual. His sense of adventure was limited to knocking down already crumbling institutions.

He seemed to have eyes in back of his head. You would provide an obscure, unattributed excerpt from a magazine and he would refer to the author's name in the rebuttal. Or he would correctly spell the name of the book that you were currently reading and have the grace not to point out that you'd misspelled it in your note. It was as though he could see right through you. Your lame, sometimes hypocritical replies were exposed as either non-sequitors or ideological falsities.

I like Dute.

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