The last interesting person around—magician Ricky Jay—passed away a short while ago.
There’s a New Yorker profile of him that has one of the best opening anecdotes I’ve ever read. But it also stands out for this sobering gem of a quote:
Those most familiar with his idiosyncrasies realize that there are at least three Ricky Jays: a public persona, a private persona, and a private persona within the private persona.
I’ll never relate to Ricky Jay’s skill, patter, or duende.
But I definitely relate to there being Hunters within Hunter.
In The Life Autistic, many relate as well.
Many of us have resorted or otherwise phased into “masking” – a way of passing as normal, skirting our obvious idiosyncrasies, and working hard to make it seem like we’re naturals at social interaction.
There’s that phrase people use: “once you get to know them, they’re —”
I wonder what people think once they feel they get to know me.
There is that polished, fine-tuned, clever professional persona, my H2 — one of my greatest creations.
After a while, people think they get to know ‘Hunter.’ They do, genuinely so. I step out of the armor, one layer removed.
Yet even beyond the veneer, when I hear people think I’m funny, engaging, or otherwise a normal, bright, sociable creature beneath the professional and personal . . .
There’s a Hunter further down, working hard to craft the jokes. Predicting the way conversations could go. Practicing every word so as not to offend with unintended brusqueness. Plotting my timing. Putting my empathetic response into overdrive to make sure I know I can show I care.
Many folks are OK getting to know H2.
Then sometimes those folks stick around, and they’re fine getting to know Hunter.
But then I worry, what comes of getting to know the Hunter beyond that?