Will Schwalbe and Chris Maxey, in my opinion, are destined to become friends. They are both likable human beings who very much wanted to be liked. They basically believed in the value of Friendship from the start and was willing to risk the full Senior Year at Yale– two nights every week- to mix with fourteen especially diverse classmates most of whom they did not know well. BZ, Berzelius Senior or Secret Society at Yale indeed brought them together, and the BZ’s Audit tradition indeed encouraged them to explore personal differences and find beauty in the other persons.
The story focused on Will (a Nerd) and Maxey (a Jock) joining BZ. Will is also Gay while Maxey became a Navy Seal. Normally that is not going to mix well. It took time to learn about one another. It took many special moments and the right atmosphere to spark connectedness and eventually intimacy. The book described their growing friendship from Bright College Year, to Twenties and Thirties, to Midlife, Forties, Fifties, Middle Fifties, Pushing Sixty, and Coda. I salute the two fellers for being honest and sincere – more importantly civil and respectful- and indeed their conscientious efforts to keep good vibes continuing. Each feller is intrinsically Loving and Lovable and each possessed amazing abilities and character. Their separate life stories are genuinely impressive notwithstanding.
I truly believe that The BZ Audit Tradition indeed challenged their quest to form Friendship with different contrasting personalities. Indeed, BZ had a reputation for emphasizing Diversity. It was the first among the Secret Societies at Yale to admit Black members. It was the first to welcome Female members. I believe I was recruited partially because I came to the U.S. from Shanghai, China. The Audit Program was carefully guided, and it has been proven to be very successful. BZ’s Mission: Achieving Insight thru Open, Honest, Exchanges of Experiences – a Place for Contemplation & Reflection- Develop Good Characters, Tolerant of Others- Forging links, Mind to Mind, in a Chain Unbroken.
Place of Engagement is significant to me, an Architect. For Will and Maxey, their magic place is the Roof of the Hall. The need to climb up thru a hatch and to find open sky must have affected their mind and opened their hearts.
I also believe in Angels. For me there is clearly a Third Person in this amazing story. On top of Page 170 David Singer yelled at Will: “He’s hurting. A lot. Just fucking call him.” Will called Maxey who was in distress. Very often a Friendship is guided or saved by a caring Third Friend. ___________________________________________________________________________+