"Okay," she said, "Try this one on: Gerald Farlin was actually a bum. When you look closely at anything he supposedly did you find out that he really didn't. Sure, he died young-but that, as you know, is the cheapest path to immortality, and for him it was the only path. He couldn't paint, at least not very well, he didn't really write anything to speak of beyond a couple of Twineball stories that you seem to have thrown out anyway, he wasn't particularly smart, talented, strong, motivated, good-looking, frugal-he would have otherwise faded into a life of obscurity working for a company that sells small appliances. His one and only redeeming quality was that for reasons that defy all sense of what is right, rational, and tasteful, everybody seemed to think he was one heck of a guy. He just bumbled his way along from one day to the next and for some reason everyone loved him. No wait-can't say that. Everybody seemed to like him. A lot."