Two Stories About Tom
When Tom was married the first time, his then wife brought into the marriage her deaf and retarded child, James. Tom promptly learned sign language and was a splendid father to this small boy. Tom and his wife did have a child of their own, Aaron (the nephew I took to Las Vegas in August when he turned 21, and who was mentioned in “Mary Beth and the Gay Teddy Bear” post of September 25, 2010), now a handsome young man in college. But here’s the interesting part: when Tom’s marriage ended not only did he get custody of Aaron, but he took James with him and raised him to adulthood. Think about what an enormous heart a person must have if, during the pain of the collapse of a marriage, he not only walks away with his own son, but also James, a boy with tremendous needs, not biologically related at all! Years later when I asked Tom why he did this, he shrugged and said, “It would have been irresponsible to leave James where he was since his mother wasn’t capable of taking care of him.”
Finally this came to a test. There was a quasi-professional basketball league starting up here in the Midwest and Columbus formed a team. Tom and I, along with a good friend of his named John, decided to attend one of these games (held at a high school gym). When the three of us were sitting in the stands, I told John about Tom and my ability to predict which people the other would find attractive. To our surprise, John promptly challenged us to do it. Tom and I looked at each other, he raised an eyebrow as a question mark, I nodded, and the challenge was accepted.