So I have spent the time marking all the bluster surrounding Jurassic Everything, and missing my friend Michael Crichton. It seems very unfair to me, as I am fairly certain it did to Michael, that he should have been so struck down, on the brink of his greatest, probably tallest triumph.
Michael was, in spite of his brilliance and height, -- he was, as I noted, neck very stiff from looking upwards at his very good-looking face-- incredibly tall, six foot seven or maybe eight or nine, I never knew exactly and was too intimidated and also a little aware of how self-conscious he might have been to ask him. But once when he was going to do a morning talk show I was on the phone nursing him into being fearless for, the camera was above him, looking down. And on the monitor you could see the top back of his head, and it was bald, which you somehow never expected for someone who seemed so invulnerable because of his brain. And darling, too. I really liked him.
He was actually so lonely he came one night to one of those church gatherings that had nothing to do with God but everything to do with Loneliness-- a Singles evening in Westwood. Row upon row of desperate alone women in front of one of those fraudulent practitioners who's going to tell you how to nail somebody. As I remember, there were not many, if any men. But Michael had asked me about it, and showed up, smart, creative, successful fellow that he was, a marriage or two already under his good-looking belt. He didn't connect with anybody there but a while afterwards brought a date to a Sunday brunch I had, whipped into omelets by a lady chef from D.C. trying to make a career in L.A. And his date, a tall, merciless blonde lay across him on my terrace, wearing no underwear as noted by another guest though not aloud. Not too long afterwards he married her and sired a daughter, who I hope gave him more satisfaction than the wife did.
There was a tenderness Michael had that was surprising, and I hope his daughter brought him joy, though a lot of things happened like kidnap threats and having to have their Malibu home guarded, and for the remainder of their beach life I didn't see him. But I was sure he stayed sweet, and really tall, and was shocked and saddened when he died, much too soon, and very very rich.
My doctor who's a very smart man says that real height-- height like Michael's is an impairment, that it puts you at risk. I think brains like his probably also do, especially if you're kind. I have no way of knowing how he was towards the end, and am lately in the midst of disbelieving hopes about an Afterlife, or any subsequent journeys for the spirit, though I am still open to having my soul confounded, should it turn out to have a journey of its own. But I remain grateful for having known him, and impressed that anyone who actually rubbed shoulders with some of the Greaties at Oxford AND Sean Connery, should have stayed comparatively humble in spite of how tall he was.