The Rear View Mirror
This last week I attended my 50th high school reunion in Tallahassee, Florida. It was a wonderful place to grow up and a wonderful time. We were blessed to be in the slipstream of the promise of the American Dream. The town seemed like one big middle class to us. Kids all kind of seemed alike. Teachers ruled. Drugs and guns(the kind meant for shooting people) were not even wild dreams. We were all going to college, into farming, or some trade. It all seemed so orderly.
I stayed with Billy and his wife, Quincie. She is an archeologist turned fabulous jewelry designer and he is morphing from a master mason/contractor to a stock day trader who also sells exotic Turkish rugs and eventually would like to get back to writing poetry, fiction and acting.
I duck into a cramped cubbyhole of a home office. As I watch Billy pour over five screens with charts, Bloomberg and CNN is streaming continuous news. I feel like I am in the control center of a NASA launch. Looking up at the two news screens I see an expert who, with convincing arguments, is sure the Dow will soon be at 12,000 . The moderator turns to another expert. He is equally convincing with the data to prove it that the Dow will tumble to 6,000. Meanwhile oil is pouring from the Ocean floor promising economic and environmental disaster. The Euro is plunging as Greece’s transgressions like the plague threaten to unravel the European economy. Suddenly the screen turns to the enigma that is Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is like the ocean floor where (substitute money for oil) is being sucked in rather than spewed out. Then the commentators return to talk about the 900 point plunge in the Dow the week before and the idea of “shadow traders”, a whole new kind of “black swan” boogie man to think about. “Isn’t this kind of maddening?” I ask Billy. “Yes, it is,” he says. “But construction is off and the cash flow is down. I’ve been lucky to get the hang of this.”
If ever there were a profession where your intuition would have to be razor sharp, this is it. Yet, are we not looking at the new norm? Is this not the bewildering rate of change we must adapt to?
I leave Billy’s office and the world that most are grappling with today.
We go to our evening event. What a wonderful time. Everyone is 67 or 68. For the most part they are done with the gauntlet that is the work-a-day world. But are busy with new interests. Little over 10% of the class has died. One classmate was murdered. One has had a sex change. Some appear to look like they did the day they left class save a few wrinkles here and there. Some have been caught by the ravages of time. The plastic surgeons have rescued others. But mainly I feel like we have returned from our cosmic adventures- where we went, what we did, how it went. There is no judgment, just curiosity. We are disappointed certain people have not come back to tell us their stories. We don’t care about how well they did or didn’t do. We just want to laugh about our past, reconnect, and realize at one level we are all the same.
Oh yes, if you want to see how to truly dress up a neck go to: