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Christopher Hitchens yelled at me (and rightly so)

Christopher Hitchens1

Image via Wikipedia

Imagine my dismay. I sat at the front of the room in the middle of an editorial meeting when the crowd parted. There was Christopher Hitchens sitting alone in the middle of the room. He was angry with me.

“You need a lifestyle editor!” he said. Not that he was applying for the job. He was talking only to me and the group I had been speaking to became a faceless mob. My job was managing editor for a magazine. And here was someone I admire proclaiming that I was screwing it up.

“You have to take responsibility!’ he said. “How do you expect to succeed without a lifestyle editor?

His last words to me were, “The clock is ticking, you know. How much time do you think you have?”

Wow. I was confused for a couple of reasons. Though I’m a big fan, I couldn’t picture a situation where I’d be in an editorial meeting with Mr. Hitchens. More to the point, I played managing editor on my college newspaper. I’m not a managing editor at the moment.

I was dreaming.

But dreaming with a point.

I woke up startled. I pulled back the sheets and sat on the edge of the bed. “My unconscious is telling me to work on my lifestyle, to chase my dreams with more awareness that life is an opportunity that does not last forever.” I exited the dream vehicle, not just reminded, but committed to continuing my lifestyle changes as well as alterations to my professional life.

The message was made all the more stark considering the challenges the real-life Christopher Hitchens is now facing. Esophageal cancer is a bitch.

It’s one of those weird little life fictions from the dreamscape that, even if it’s wrong, it’s right. The experience affected me deeply.

So it was like all good fiction.

Filed under: authors, Horror, What about Chazz?, , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Hahaha! I met Christopher Hitchens in a Toronto hotel bar during the Hot Docs film festival in 2009. He was having (many) after pitch drinks with the producer and director team who were proposing to make a film based on his book God Is Not Great. I sailed past him in a significant alcohol haze of my own – stopped dead – and circled back (in complete star struck giddiness) – immediately forgetting the urgency of my bathroom call.

    I slurred an effusive self introduction. Then my admiration gushed – like the pint of beer I had only moments earlier knocked over on the table. Then I lamented two facts: (1) the bar was closed and I couldn’t buy him a scotch and (2) I did not have a copy of his book for him to sign.

    He was gracious, charming, and cheerfully soused.

    I’m so glad I had an opportunity to meet the man.

    • Chazz says:

      He’s an amazing person whose writing, journalistic and debating skills are needed. I don’t agree with much he says about Iraq and agree with him thoroughly on his opinions about religion. Esophageal cancer is a dire diagnosis. I’m hoping he has many years yet to contribute because we need his mind and voice, especially in the political forum.

      Speaking of which, I sure wish George Carlin was still around. We need him, too. Bill Hicks would have been entertaining and useful. These are rare individuals who, when gone, aren’t replaced. I know no one is indispensable, but I don’t see an heir apparent for Mr. Hitchens.

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