Harry Feldstone

The striking thing about Harry -the one that struck me, anyway- was his unquenchable passion for analysis. It was a real passion, a driving force that he had no real control over, and it was unlimited as it was imperious. He was impelled to turn over, tear apart and rip the sense out of every object that came in view, whether it had any intrinsic merit or attraction or even interest for him or not. That was my impression after the first few weeks, and nothing in the long course of our friendship since then has ever given me cause to change it.
I couldn’t see what he was after, exactly. Even much later, when we had known each other for years, the aims of his frequent, compulsive inquiries into basic motives and principles often remained obscure to me. Though, by then, they had become thoroughly familiar. What’s more, at the beginning, the whole business embarrassed me. Since I was the only really close friend Harry had made, it naturally followed that a large share of his searching curiosity should be directed at me.

As we came to know more people and have a wider range of common experience, Harry’s objects of fascination became more numerous and diffuse. He began to use the techniques he had employed almost exclusively to plumb my soul on most of our mutual acquaintances, and I became the sounding board, rather than the target, of his obsessions: “Now listen, Kevin, what d’you think that fellow Sandord really meant, when he…”

The Shortest Gladdest Years, Scott Sullivan