But in spite of all his gifts, there was something lacking in Harry, some essential flaw in his powers of judgement. He could figure out at a glance the way things worked and how all the pieces fit together, but he had a hard time deciding which parts were significant and which ones trivial. I suppose that’s why he knew so many people – if you’re not sure who you want to be friends with you’re better off trying to be friends with everybody.
Hard as it is to believe, I was even more opinionated back then than I am now, which is probably why Harry cultivated my friendship so assiduously and why, like everything he cultivated, it grew so quickly. Surrounded by the various intoxicants he made available but seldom indulged in himself, Harry picked my brain in the course of many a late night bull session, and I’d often hear some pithy pronouncement I’d delivered echoing from Harry’s mouth the next day in school, sometimes even spoken with my own habitual stutter.
Strangely enough it never bothered me – they were pretty good lines and a lot more people listened when he said them than when I did.