The first time I met the man I now consider to be my brother, I never imagined that I would know him in any way other than the teacher’s pet at the front of the class. At first glance, I had dismissed Maverick Freedlander as the kind of guy who would live and die sitting in the front row of every class, doing his best to answer every question the teacher asked.
To me, that kind of lifestyle deserved no more than scorn and mild bewilderment. Who would want to work so hard for nothing more than the ephemeral approval of a teacher? His attitude towards school was anathema to me, and I did not possess the foresight to look more deeply. And if not for a lucky break, Mav would have remained nothing more than a passing curiosity, the kind of animal you would stare at through the glass of an aquarium.
It took a particularly auspicious assignment in our shared class to change my mind. In the class we were taking together, the teacher had directed us to prepare individual presentations on issues faced by individual countries in the Middle East. Since I was too apathetic to take the initiative in selecting a topic, the teacher graciously chose for me. I may not be personally invested in the social issues facing Lebanon, but my knowledge of the history of the region helped make up for my lack of time invested in the project (I spent less than 5 minutes before class preparing the powerpoint presentation, intending to ad-lib the rest. Those who know me can assure you that this is standard procedure).
The ensuing masterpiece caught the attention of Mav, and we struck up a conversation after the class (and after the teacher had upbraided me for my lack of effort). From that conversation we both walked away with different perspectives.
I was wrong about him. From that day forward, our friendship developed and our interests slowly began to overlap. I introduced him to rock music and he reinvigorated my interest in it. I taught him what I knew of history and he showed me how much I still had to learn. We became better men thanks to our contact with each other. Nowhere was this more evident than in how our political views have changed since we met each other. Though I may have failed in getting him to embrace anarcho-monarchism (the objectively best political ideology), we’ve both grown in maturity thanks to each other’s input.
I’ve been wrong about many things over the course of my life. Of all my incorrect assumptions, I am most glad that I was proven wrong about Maverick. He remains a steadfast and wise friend of mine, and I am eternally grateful that I had the chance to be proven wrong by him.