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When I was an undergraduate, I took my meals at Yale’s “kosher kitchen” in a basement on the periphery of campus. Dinners were popular, but lunch was… intimate. Depending on the day of the week, lunch could be a gathering of a dozen, or just three or four. One semester during my sophomore year, I got to know a third-year law student named Michael. Our schedules overlapped on one of those weekdays when lunch was sparsely attended. Michael was a little older than most law students, and his gravitas was enhanced by his quiet confidence and his full beard. But there was also something else about Michael. It was a kind of heroic intensity, similar to the vibe I get from ex-military guys.
Over the course of the semester, I learned a little of Michael’s story. He had some condition that caused periodic blindness. The law school provided him a reader, when necessary, to read textbooks aloud to him. Fortunately, Michael had a remarkable memory and could recall all the material. Michael was well-informed, intelligent, and reasonable. He had seen something of the world between his undergraduate days and law school, and was an engaging conversationalist. He was someone I often turned to for advice.