Some 14 years after publishing this essay, I had a conversation
with a certain French Woman about a party she had attended at a home in
Berkeley. Without irony, she described her hosts as “very alternative.”
I was instantly charmed at the exceptions to my personal proscriptions
-- two at the same time. Thus, I am henceforth prepared to
tolerate the use of very if and only if that dreaded word is immediately
followed by another, alternative.