I hung out with Jim Finnegan almost every day for over ten years at the senior center. I use his full name because he is now lost to me from Alzheimer’s, physically as well as mentally, and I am hoping someday someone will read this and contact me. His daughter whisked him off to her home in Seattle, in accord with her dharma. Certainly this was needed, and I am glad he will be cared for, but she knows nothing of me, and I have no way of contacting her. Before she took him away, Jim could not tell me her email address, street address, or phone number, not even her married name. He even stopped using my name in the past several months. I suspect he no longer knew it, but we still had good discussions. Memory fades in reverse order for dementia victims. We could still discuss his childhood growing up in West Philly and the Phillies when they were the Whiz Kids. He could describe the old games he saw with his grandfather at Shibe Park inning-by-inning. He was always glad to see me, but probably did not know who I was—just somebody good. He could still discuss Paul Tillich, the Lutheran theologian, the subject of his PhD thesis. We were both Tillich fans, he Catholic, me Protestant, discovering each other’s interest at the Jewish Community Center.
Jim was a retired psychologist, and often gave a slant that went right to the heart of our discussions. I once mentioned the marital indiscretions of General Petraeus and why anyone so publicly visible would risk a scandal. Jim’s comment was, “Sure he would fool around! Why else would anyone work so hard to become a general? To get the babes, of course.”
How true. Man’s dharma is to spread his genetics as far as possible, and this has kept the human race alive. No effort is too great, no risk too extreme to move toward this goal, as women are well aware of. So, should men be encouraged to follow their dharma? Or only some dharma? And who gets to chose which ones?
And if you come across a Jim Finnegan living in the Seattle area, tell him I miss my old philosophical buddy. I kid you not.