This week a friend and former colleague died at his home in Belize, a heart attack the result of running out of blood pressure medication. It's hard to explain this guy, but I think my brother Clay summed it up perfectly when he said he left everything on the field. He was like a caricature, but not. That's the only way I can explain it. When I first met him, and until we no longer worked together, he was the top selling salesperson globally for this tech company. His territory was Latin America and the Caribbean. Fluent in Spanish and an avid sailor, he was a natural fit for the job. At the time, I worked in international marketing--everything outside the US and Canada. It was actually way more fun than US and Canada and way more Wild, Wild, West. I can't talk about it all, because within our group we had what's known as "the Cone of Silence." We didn't talk about what happened in Brazil or Mexico, because it never happened. The news of our friend's death really hit me. Hypothetically we know that no one here gets out alive. But in the real world, it can be shocking. As I said, and my brother and other close friends echoed, there are some people who are so larger than life, it doesn't seem like they can actually die. But he did. And what is real or made up about him, we will hopefully never know for sure. Here's what I do know: those ridiculous biking shorts that he wore sailing, his love of all things on the water, Red Stripe beer, sipping caipirinhas at the Maksoud in Sao Paulo, his loud silly laugh and big smile, he was a lover of women and loved in return. Is there anything more? He lived large and that is a lesson to us all. Seize the day because our days are numbered. Or as his friend John said, "Time has us all, so enjoy every day."
Social media is a weird thing. It puts so many words out there and we think the words don't matter or connect the dots, but they do. Facebook algorithms are tracking us, and we say, "Oh it's fine, I have a tin foil hat or I'm not on Facebook." What we write on social media is revealing who we are. I recently met with a young classmate of my son's for a job shadowing program through their high school. These kids seem so poised. Emma seemed so poised. I don't know if that is because I was a nervous wreck as a child or if there really is a big difference between millenials and me. When I was a junior in high school, I was working at various menial jobs and babysitting. I was killing it babysitting. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. House on Rice's Lane in Westport, who not only had the world's easiest baby but they also had awesome snacks. Represent Camp Mahackeno! But I was otherwise trying like hell to hide who I was. I don't know if it was the times, or it was just me. My job shadower Emma was entirely prepared for our meeting. We had to push it a few times because she had so many things on her plate like AP exams and varsity sports. When we finally met, what I came away thinking was that kid is exhausted. She kept yawning when we were talking or actually trying to stifle yawns. I assumed boredom, and it may in fact have been boredom, but she later said she learned a bunch from talking to me. So I'm going to say 50% boredom, 50% exhaustion from all the testing and sports etc. Emma brought some writing samples for me to review, and as I read them I began to get a better picture of who she is. She's a nonconformist, she's a romantic -- I mean she must be right to want to pursue a career in writing? I thought wow, I am really beginning to see who she is. She is revealed. Then today I was thinking well I'm still a huge secret except for my blog and my Pinterest boards and my Twitter feed. Who am I kidding? All will be revealed through our writing. And now our writing and our words are pervasive on social.