It was so easy to slip, and hard to notice how fast we had fallen from speech acceptable on the holy Shabbat.
It started with a comment on the weather. Last week it was hot and suddenly cold. Nathan then explained that all engineers see everything as a sine wave. He made some mistake and i said that i'm an editor and have to edit everything we read, and even conversations.
Somehow the conversation turned to his old friend Francis X, like Malcolm, and Zulu who in 1968 used to organize confrontations like beating up policemen, and they never caught him. After a while he gave up on it, since nobody came to help out; it was all junkies and derelicts. I kept pressing Nathan for an example of what he means by confrontations.
Lincoln Center: the day the comedian Victor Borges spoke to a crowd from Denmark about the time Hitler yemach shmo demanded all the Jews be deported. The Danes responded by giving all their boats to send their Jews to safety in Sweden. Nathan had been standing outside Lincoln Center with his Danish girlfriend, whose father played in the orchestra inside, and some guys in favor of racial segregation, campaigners for George Wallace of Alabama, were setting up to speak in his favor. So Nathan in his denim bell bottoms and tight Hell's Angels undershirt did a quick karate side kick right next to the Wallace guys, who made haste to leave the area.
At this point, Nathan bragged that Peter Jennings was there with his television crew and gave Nathan a hundred dollar ticket to get into the concert.
I don't know what happened to the Danish girlfriend, but before i knew it Nathan was talking about his after college graduation trip to Europe, a gift from his sister. Since we were talking about Denmark, he visited Copenhagen for 2 weeks, and Paris for 7 weeks. In the daytime he swam in the pool, not in the Seine, even then in the 60s it was too polluted for that; and every night he went out dancing. That led to the story about the Nigerian friend who also went out dancing, and somehow he told him about some hash that was out of this world, so they went to the place where you get it. Nathan wasn't allowed inside, but there was a ritual knife fight and after that he got the stuff, and then Nathan bragged that hundreds of people followed him wherever he went.
Finally he hitchhiked to Madrid, then Barcelona, and then Tangiers. He got all kinds of dangerous drugs from the Mafia for free, and he knew that the plan was to get him hooked. I was in shock that someone should be so stupid, and Nathan said no, everybody knew that you just take a little at a time, not too often, and then you're okay.
By then I realized how far we had fallen from suitable speech on the holy Sabbath, and started yelling about how stupid it was, and how could his sister have paid for such a trip. Nathan said i was just like his sister, meaning I'm not cool, and started to leave the table to take a nap, and i would have followed him with a barrage of insults if i hadn't needed to say psalms and finish my hour of hitbodedut.