Tribute to Barney Rosset

Coco Myers

His blue eyes. Once you were in conversation with Barney, they didn’t waver….His large hands
wrapped around the ubiquitous glass of rum and Coke, ice clinking. His heh-heh laugh and wide
smile, engraved in his expression. The accent, still Chicago-tinged…His relish for argument, his
relentless pursuit in making a point…The buzzing sound of electric hedge-trimmers next door,
just over the fence (he was my weekend neighbor as well as my stepfather)….The sight of him
grubby with dirt after gardening all day long, my mother, Astrid, calling him when the sun went
down….His obsession with politics and sports—whatever the game or debate, the television
tuned….His sweet side. The soft spot for my schizophrenic brother. His affection for dogs—I can
still see Barney bending over, near the end of his life, to pet my new puppy, a gesture that
seemed antithetical to his nature…until you knew his nature, and all the secret chambers of his
heart.