“My dear Hollywood,
- There comes a time in the life of all men who aspire, as we do, to greatness, when the most delicate of subjects must be broached. In our case, this delicacy is rendered even more complex by the nature of our relationship. Yet we shall confront it together, without qualms, for the good of our brotherhood.
- I have noticed your repeated laudatory references to one of your altar boys, and I cannot help but conclude that you have rather favorable designs on him. I have faced this with a countenance befitting my position - that is, with a certain stoic resignation, albeit tinged with jealousy. In light of the unfortunate events of recent years, what is most urgent for you, my friend, is to avoid scandal, to bide your time until the lad reaches legal manhood. But “biding time” is by no means a passive occupation. Gutta cavat lapidem non vi sed saepe cadendo!
- The position in which you find yourself is analogous to a subplot involving two characters in that popular yet completely puerile cinema series “Star Wars,” whose paper mâche heroism you no doubt took in as a youth. I refer to the seduction of Anakin Skywalker to the dark side of the Force (dark side, indeed!) by the Emperor Palpatine, aka Darth Sidious – which, though hopelessly clumsy in portrayal, did employ valid psychology. Therefore, in your developing relationship with the boy, you will assume the role of the Emperor, while the boy plays – albeit unknowingly - the part of Anakin.
- Your first and most productive tool, which was the very key to the Emperor’s success, is the careful use of flattery to induce him to rely on you for counsel. You will however studiously avoid compliments directed to his physical qualities, no matter how inspiring and admirable they may be. No, focus on his character and his intellect, his talents, his achievements in school or in sports, his devotion to his duties as a server.
- Ideally you will hit upon something at which he excels, yet which you suspect may compromise him at some point in the future, and cause him great frustration or even agony. For example, is he an outstanding football player, yet finds himself benched in favor of another, whose father has contributed more to the Booster’s Club? Does he bring home excellent grades that are met with utter indifference by his parents? Is he fatally attracted to some winsome young thing who just happens to have serious character flaws and numerous bad habits?
- Only after you have gained his confidence with your posture of understanding and support –a process which may take a year or two – can you begin to initiate the emotional intimacy that prepares the real relationship. That intimacy allows both of you to be vulnerable – a vulnerability which in turn opens the door to a discussion of certain of your friends (real or fictitious) who have certain habits, and which will ultimately culminate in your own confession. A tearful confession, perhaps?
- In closing, my dear boy, I do not envy you this arduous courtship, but I perceive that you relish the challenge of recruitment and, of course, la chasse! I once felt as you do, but the maturity of years has cooled somewhat my sense of adventure, and I prefer to remain within our little network. Such self-imposed restrictions do, after all, provide me with a reasonable sense of fidelity…
Your affectionate Shepherd