There's only three people I regret not having met - Edward Bennett Williams, Johnny Cochran, and Dr. Eugene Scott. Williams was dead before my coming of age, so my regret is one of accident of birth rather than of my omissions. But I never met Dr. Scott or Mr. Cochran. And I'm saddened.
Both, though of diverse backgrounds and interests, had in common an iconoclasm and charisma.
Dr. Gene Scott was a minister like none I'd ever seen. Growing up in a small Midwestern town, I'd watch his 24-hour satellite network. I always told myself, "If ever in Los Angeles, I'm going to see him live."
Dr. Scott gave sermons with a Churchill in his mouth, and frequently, Playboy bunnies in the audience. He was no Jimmy Swaggart -- Scott was Aristotle with faith.
He had a Ph.D from Stanford, and he was a philologist who could lecture for hours on the biblical equivalent of, "It depends what is, is."
Johnny Cochran's life needs no explanation here.
Both men lived and worked in Los Angeles. I had always intended to attend church at Dr. Gene's University Cathedral, but like so many other things, I put it off. What's the rush? I had a few opportunities to meet Mr. Cochran, but again, no hurries, no worries.
Boy was I wrong. In my foolish youth, I forgot that we don't live forever. It's time to write some letters home.