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Fall 1998
The Man Who Knows Too Much
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When my wife and I were introduced to each other...I had a sense there was something about Marie that didn't quite match my ideal, even though I couldn't figure out exactly what it was. Not until Marie and I first went to a ballet together did I solve the puzzle. I lent Marie my opera glasses, and when she passed them back to me, I found that she had pushed the eyepieces so close together that I couldn't see through them until I had spread them apart again. I then realized that Marie has more close-set eyes than I do, and that most women I had pursued before had wide-set eyes like my own. Thanks to Marie's earlobes and other merits, I've been able to make peace with my and her mismatched interocular distances.

Cohen takes it in stride. "He makes observations about all kinds of things without malice aforethought," she says. "For Jared, life is basically an unending series of New Guinea experiences; he applies those lessons over and over."

Diamond acknowledges that his time in New Guinea is what most affects his way of seeing the world and that it has rendered him risk-averse. "I learned the heavy consequences of making mistakes," he says, "and now I'm just a lot more careful about everything. I'm a careful driver, I'm careful with my children." His sons, Max and Joshua, have grown up in a pretty quiet home — no Nintendo, no TV except for special events like the World Series. Diamond takes the twins on separate outings geared to their individual interests. Max likes snakes and salamanders and frogs, so Dad took him out to hunt for endangered newts. Joshua, a history buff, has traveled with his father to view Civil War battle sites. Diamond is concerned about what kind of world his boys will inherit. "The planet is really going to be an awful place," he says, if, as according to some predictions, the tropical rain forest is destroyed by 2030, fossil fuels are nearly exhausted by 2040 and global warming happens by 2050. "So, particularly with my science writing I hope to alert people to the dangers." Does he ever tire or grow bored? "No," Diamond says happily."There's just too many interesting things out there."

Catherine Seipp is a Los Angeles writer.


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