Talents: Few. Ed is able to write nonfiction quite well, having made it his profession and object of study and teaching for 45 years. He is a published but uninspired and unmotivated poet. Poetic impulse diminished in recent years. No fiction ability whatsoever, ever. Writing skill diminishing a bit at age 65—difficulty finding the right word that used to come quickly. (Could not think of the work “chronic” in the third paragraph, above. Had to use thesaurus. Thank god for Roget—the mental equivalent of a cane.) Good tennis player ranked eighth in Men’s 60s in Mid-Atlantic Region. Respectable golfer (5.5 handicap index). No other talents: can’t draw, sculpt, paint, make cabinets, repair electrical devices, renovate bathroom, ski, skate, sail, sing, dance, compose, play an instrument, knit, or garden.
Character flaws: Where to begin? Lifelong fear of embarrassment—his own and others'—has led Ed to avoid many kinds of risk and been the primary motivator of his life. (See “Never learned to dance,” above.) General physical cowardice and weakish nerves. More than occasional unjustified intellectual arrogance. Inability to do a good deed or achieve some success without letting everyone know about it. (Did I mention my high IQ score and tennis ranking?) Lack of ambition. Dislike of work. Overaffection for play. Occasionally overcompetitive. Poor storyteller. That’s enough for here. All of this has been true from the start. None of this has changed over the decades.
Appearance (current): Six foot, 160 pounds. 33-inch waist in jeans. 40-inch chest in sports jackets. Generally skinny. Unblemished, slightly age-mottled skin. Tans well. Thin hair, still more brown than gray (a genetic gift from paternal ancestors). View from overhead: more scalp than hair. Prognathous chin. Squinty eyes. Moderate wrinkling, especially of ears.
Lost loved ones: Mother, father, brother George, friends Tom and Lee.