Steve Fialkoff and I weren't friends at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, NY. We were in the class of 1972; earlier alums include Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, and Carole King. The near-thousand of us self-sorted into three cliques, based on neighborhood. Steve was from Mill Basin, me Kings Highway.
While super-popular Steve was everywhere with his massive blond 'fro, capturing our experiences with his camera and leading the class in drama productions, I was on the fast track to nerddom. I spent my time in the chem lab with the groovy new teacher in charge, a 24-year-old who showed my bestie Wendy and me how to make bongs and water pipes. But Steve now says he was a closet nerd, a "frizzy-haired, freckle-faced, big-nosed, crooked-smile, toothy guy."
It wasn't surprising that Steve became a film editor and now a playwright. What was surprising was learning at age 25 that he had retinitis pigmentosa, after he tripped over a seat in a darkened theater and had a few other stumbles.
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