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He didn’t care about money, he said; he cared about being in something bigger than himself.He was a bookish, passionate, deeply neurotic Jewish intellectual…and he was a killer drummer. On tour, you live in a van and sleep on strangers’ floors. I quickly discovered Abe’s flaws, both small (his loud snoring) and big (his explosive temper). So when Abe offered to hook me up with a job teaching theater and music with him at a Jewish summer camp in New England, I jumped at the chance.“Have they asked you anything about what I’ve been up to? Abe soon started speaking about his job as if it were a righteous crusade: As he saw it, he was a good shepherd for the brainwashed Jewish youth.Somewhere in the past week, Abe had come to view the camp as synonymous with organized religion, and it was his responsibility to guide the campers out of the darkness and into the bright light of critical thought and self-actualization.“Don’t tell anyone, but I can see bright white light trails that show me where Mollie is going to walk today.And if I just avoid the trail, I avoid talking to her.” “Don’t tell anyone, but I’m resistant to fire.
The conversation shifted again when he started talking about his magical powers. ” he asked me one afternoon as we sat on a bench in the main quad, watching some of the campers play a game of basketball. “I control it with my mind.” As he opened up to me more and more about his inner world, he became more and more insistent that I never mention it to anybody.
She complained to me in passing about Abe; said that he seemed to be acting a lot stranger this year than he had the previous summer. “Adam, we have a big problem,” Abe said, dropping his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. They’re afraid of what I’m teaching them.” On the face of it, this didn’t sound too far-fetched. But as the days passed, Abe’s comments started to get more extreme.
As a high schooler, I had once written a school play that was censored by an overly moralistic administration. “I think Debbie or Mollie might be keeping surveillance on me,” he said, referring to the two camp administrators.
I was a 24-year-old theater teacher at a Jewish summer camp. As a result, those members would frequently change.
In the early morning hours, we would eat coffee ice cream and plan our next tour, surfing the web and sending out email solicitations for new venues, new vans, new band mates. Fresh out of college and with no discernable professional skills, we didn’t have enough money to get our own place, let alone pay the members of our band.