Dave McGann was a good friend way back in high school, and we haven’t seen each other in almost 30 years. Dave is a year younger than me, and was the assistant editor / editor in training on the high school newspaper when I was editor. What stands out in my memory of those days was how much effort we spent trying to sneak double entendres past the faculty advisor. Dave was smart and serious even back then, and as always, it’s been fun to see how your friends have gotten older but haven’t changed that much.
Dave attended SUNY Albany, and then stuck around the area, working at what seems to be the intersection of policy, research and media. At his current position, he runs a group that deals with trainings, both live and online. Dave says that if you’ve ever done an online training on harassment or something like that, there’s a good chance that they made it. (I’ll be posting his email so you can send him comments.)
Greta and I spent a fun evening with Dave, his wife Louise, and their son Chris, who is about to head off on a post-doc appointment near DC. What really pre-occupied us was a discussion of beer. I had been aware of Dave’s proclivities in this area from his Facebook postings; actually, I’ve been aware of his proclivities since high school, so maybe now it’s more his accomplishments that are in the foreground. Besides having rare microbrews that you have to drive to secret locations in Vermont to procure (and which can be sold at enormous markups in Brooklyn), Dave and his son have been brewing for ten years (it helps to have a PhD scientist in the family), and their beers were superb. We drank great beer, ate fabulous Italian food (finally back in the part of the country which does real Italian), and talked about the vicissitudes of late middle age.
Dave and I had many of those heartfelt, serious conversations about the meaning of life in high school, and it’s wonderful to see how he has lived since then. Like most of us, the facts of his life are pretty normal – career, marriage and two kids, suburban house – but it struck me that Dave has a keen appreciation of how good that has really been. Perhaps it’s partly due to Louise’s work as a social worker, where she deals with people much less fortunate every day. But for whatever reason, Dave seemed really content, knowing that he’d made some good choices in his life, and that things had turned out better than we ever expected back in the day.