While I was in New York last weekend, I had an opportunity to visit one of my Friends of Long Standing, the good Doctor Harpo.
Esteemed readers who have followed my antics for a while may remember Harpo from a piece I wrote last year after reconnecting with him at Princeton Reunions. And if you wonder where that sobriquet came from, you need look no further than the photographs in that post: That shock of curly, reddish-blond hair has always called the Silent Marx Brother to mind.
[The other nickname I have for the good Doctor is “Urethra Franklin” - which makes perfect sense given that his name really is Franklin, and he’s a urologist.]
In any event, Doc Harpo was gracious enough to put me up overnight, and as fate would have it, his place is conveniently located on the Upper West Side just a short walk from Central Park... in a gorgeous old Beaux Arts apartment building that is an official New York City designated landmark.
It was a little like stepping back in time 35 years or so... because Jensen is the spit ’n’ image of his Daddy. You’d be hard-pressed to distinguish a contemporary photograph of Jensen from one of Harpo taken back in our college days. Lookee:
Doc Harpo and son Jensen (Dartmouth ’10). Father and son? Or clones?
This Harpo thing has been part of the Doc’s identity for a long time. Just how long? Recently, as he was going through a box of his old junk and detritus that had been stored at his mother’s place, he found this:
Caricature of Doc Harpo from 1974. [Click to embiggen.]
It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to see that it’s a caricature of the good Doctor. But who is this “Logan” fellow? Harpo’s son wasn’t walking the planet back then.
Why, it’s me! Logan was my nickname in college, a nickname that was bestowed upon me after I made an abrupt tooth-rattling, bowel-clenching two-wheeled left turn onto Logan Avenue in Asbury Park, New Jersey one day in 1972. It’s purely a coincidence that Doc Harpo would later name his firstborn son Logan... but I’ve always taken quiet pleasure in that coincidence. And it’s an amazing little piece of synchronicity that Harpo found that drawing - a drawing that had lain hidden for thirty-six years - until just a few days before I called to announce my plans to visit New York.