When a someone truly great dies, everyone talks about how it relates to them. A testimony. As if to say, you could discount everything else about them, but I know my life was changed and here is how.
You will see many, many people write about the brilliant Christopher Hitchens today. They will all be honest testaments by friends, and enemies, he made in his all too brief 62 years.
I only have two anecdotes, both from the same dinner at a since demolished Ruby Tuesdays in the Stardust Casino on January 16th, 2005. Both, to my delight, involved alcohol. For me, watching Hitchens drolly fire off one liners about booze was akin to Paul McCartney picking up an acoustic guitar and strumming out Yesterday while we waited for appetizers.
Anyhow, this was right after The Amazing Meeting 3 where Hitchens was speaker. Thanks to Andrew Mayne, I was tagging along to a speakers and staff only dinner after the convention wrapped up. As everyone began seating themselves, we resolved to angle our way next to Hitch. We did.
Waiter: Would you like something to drink.
Hitchens: Yes, wine.
Waiter: Red or white?
Hitchens: (5% more serious than anyone you’ve ever seen order a drink at Ruby Tuesdays) Wine. Is. Red.
His wine was then delivered.
Hitchens: (Drinks wine, grimaces) Ugh, this is terrible. This is awful. This is sheep dip. (Turns to me) You want to know the only thing worse?
Hitchens: No wine at all.
Christopher Hitchens was a larger than life hero for me. As a prolific writer, ferocious thinker and fearless personality. He was a great man. The world is much less interesting today.