Every Sunday afternoon at one we meet at Valois Cafeteria for brunch. Sometimes there are more, but usually it’s just Bernie, Steven and me. We meet once weekly and have done so regularly for the past year. Due to the awkward timing of the rendezvous, I’m usually famished when I arrive. However, Bernie’s physical condition requires that we avoid the crowds of the noon rush hour. He’s the sage, so Steven and I defer to him.
Both Bernie and Steven are retired. Bernie is a former Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago who taught some of the most popular courses in the department until his retirement at the age of 85. His career is marked by genuine accomplishment—the only ever two term Chair of the Department and the incredible distinction of having corrected Max Weber. He’s an expert on bureaucracies and their development.
Steven is currently working on a relentless takedown of a Japanese intellectual who somehow influenced the postwar Japanese educational system. He is, of course, the scholar. According to Steven, his subject subterraneously injected deeply conservative ideology into the Ministry of Education. Beyond his work on Japanese educational history, Steven has dipped his toe in a wide variety of careers and industries, including work as a journalist for the International Herald Tribune. At the age of 65, Steven is an aging hippie with the ponytail and enigmatic beard to prove it.