Family near the tide pools shoot us cold and angry looks. Projecting hostility with glowers and body language, as we swim and laugh and act like college students on summer break.

Can't be us. We're awful nice after all. Must be Karl Marx, our topic of conversation. My friend has the bright red Karl Marx Reader in hand. I've got Perry Anderson. We're fervent and earnest and seemingly we're pissing them off.

More than pissed off, I think. If looks could kill we'd be worm meat. Maybe we're lucky they're just mom and the kids. Maybe dad's a Marine or a SEAL or some other titan who could drown us each with one powerful hand on the back of our necks. Maybe we should politely evaporate.

Nah. Not us. We're too earnest and good-natured and optimistically convinced of the good will and essential American fairness of everyone we encounter. It's 1979, we're 20, the day is beautiful, the world is perfect. And besides, my friends have taken no notice, engrossed in debate.