1968 was a terrible year. I don't even like to remember it. I've done a good job of forgetting, except I don't forget, it just got buried in some cranial crevice.
It was nearly guilt-free going to college in Canada during the Vietnam war years. There was no conflict. Not just the students , but all the teachers, and bus drivers -- everybody in Canada said it was a stupid war and to stay out of it. Canadian students didn't go home and argue with their parents about the war in Vietnam. No draft for them, no body count.
As an American I was against the war. Here we were at college drinking beer and chasing girls and we got exempted but the farm boys got drafted and killed. Too strange. It wasn't a national emergency...... this is such an old argument from fifty years ago. I would rather forget the whole thing.
By the time I was a senior I had read quite a few books. For some reason I now recall some authors not worth a second glance, but at the time I read and admired -- Norman O. Brown, Herbert Marcuse and Oswald Spengler. I poured over them with intensity. I finally realized they were bad writers with nothing to say. This is how we form literary judgment, by reading widely and having the confidence to form an opinion.
I read the Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell. It was so romantic and so exotic. I am embarrassed to say how much I dreamed on it.
Our senior year we lived a few blocks from campus at 55 St. Nicholas Street, in a decrepit red brick three-story apartment building.
Tom Orent and I and George Massey and Richard Smith occupied the second floor. Upstairs lived Paul Schulte, Jim Gardella and Brian Fredericks. We were a merry crew. I was the instigator. They were the caution . It was wild times with the war in the background on the TV. Enough about that.
This was St. Michael's College, a Catholic school run by the Basilian Fathers and a part of the public University of Toronto.
A good school for all that. I am so thankful I got to spend my younger years there. That school experience gave me a reserve of quiet joy when things got tough later in life, when I was lonely and broke or just adrift.
But I don't understand the Critique of Pure Reason.
Marshall McLuhan gave a lecture on the Wasteland in the Elmsley Lounge one year. This great man was talking but it was the free sherry that got everybody to show up. It was the last time the college ever served sherry like that, too many drunk undergraduates. McLuhan didn't mind. Not that he liked us. He didn't. He just didn't care how much we drank. What he said was some people get the Wasteland and some people don't. Don't worry about it.