Friday, December 14, 2012
Of course, it wasn't Jean-Paul Sartre that made me cut seventh period to watch "High Noon" again the next three afternoons. As it happened, existentialism didn't reach me until I was a Marine corporal on a troopship heading for Vietnam. Every day I sat on the deck next to staff sergeants playing pinochle while I read Sartre and Dostoyevsky about absurdity, decision, transcendence and meaning. Existentialism seemed to apply in Vietnam, a grim business I had to take care of without knowing precisely why, a bit like staying in Hadleyville, or even going to Roosevelt Junior High School.