SOMEONE HE’D LIKE YOU TO MEET by Benji Mast Photography by Lorida Burkholder When you board a bus, do you put your bag on the seat beside you so you don’t have to talk with anyone? When you go to parties do you look for a cup of punch to hold and a corner to stand in? If you work with people you don’t have much in common with, do you avoid them? If you can identify, you probably consider yourself an introvert. Or perhaps you consider some people too difficult to talk to. I beg to differ. You may be introverted, someone who gets weary from prolonged exposure to people. I know I am. But that’s not the real reason we struggle to engage in meaningful conversation. Perhaps the people we’d like to talk to are aloof. However, what comes off as aloofness is often fear in them, and it is not the real reason we find it difficult to begin to talk with that person. The real reason is something else, but you’re not going to like it very much. Have you ever had two friends that you think should meet? When I got to know this guy named -34- Caleb at college, I knew he should meet my brother. My brother Hans writes a regular news column because he’s the kind of guy who knows all the events going on in the world. Hans’ IQ is somewhere between really high and extremely high. He completed high school in two years because he could. Caleb is into politics and smart stuff too. He’s the kind of guy who does internships in Washington D.C. and was elected student body president his junior year. That was after he also won it his sophomore year. I wanted Caleb and Hans to meet. I just thought if they talked then the world could be saved, or at least the conversation would be very interesting. One night Caleb called me. He needed some ideas for an essay about libertarian policy. I confidently told him I was pretty sure I knew what libertarian policy was, but guessed he wanted a little more. I glanced at Hans sitting across the living room. “Just a sec, let me put you on speaker phone, EVEREST GODLY MEN ENCOURAGE US ON TO THE SUMMIT.