As a companion, he proved not just mischievous, he was Mischief itself. Constant word games, inventing naughty stories about each table of fellow diners. He staged a childish sulk if while walking the campus we ran into my undergrad Swedish-American boyfriend. Cheever expressed ecstasy over some oil rainbow flung across a puddle. He would skinny-dip in icy public rivers while you stood pretending to be a lamppost. Confronting Iowa hostesses who looked too much like Margaret Dumont, he’d goose those ladies. He would. The wisest of them giggled, “Oh, now John, you bad bad boy. Not again!” He was Cole Porter one minute, Groucho the next, suddenly a drunken stumblebum, then the wisest of Chekhov’s cynics. John was selfish and ruined. He was a child, he was a genius. He was a scamp, he was a man.