Parallel lives

I was sitting in my office one day last week when someone stopped by to ask the way to Building 4. This isn’t uncommon, as our buildings are a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. But something about this guy seemed familiar. I could see he had a contractor badge but not his name. What was it? Joe something.

I hit the company directory and found the answer. There was the name I remembered, apparently now working for McKinsey. And in Redmond.

This was so uncanny. Joe and I had been at Virginia’s Governors School for Science and Math together in the summer of 1989; had gone to the University of Virginia together; and had started work at American Management Systems at the same time. Now, a year and a half after completing his MBA at Michigan, he was in Redmond on a consulting engagement.

Parallel lives. Really parallel: Joe and I never hung out much in college, he was in a different business unit at AMS and spent much of his time in Germany, he did his MBA at a different school a year earlier, and he won’t be in Redmond after next week.

But the final coincidence is that he was at Michigan with my friend and former AMS co-worker and teammate Larry Weyer. If three coincidences are a conspiracy, what are four???

Pennyroyal Tea

nirvana - cover art to in utero


In Utero

Geffen, 1993

Pennyroyal Tea
(Kurt Cobain)

I’m on my time with everyone
I have very bad posture

Sit and drink Pennyroyal Tea
Distill the life that’s inside of me
Sit and drink Pennyroyal tea
I’m anemic royalty

Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld
So I can sigh eternally

I’m so tired I can’t sleep
I’m a liar and a thief
Sit and drink pennyroyal Tea
I’m anemic royalty

I’m on warm milk and laxatives
Cherry-flavored antacids

Knowing the Dog

I’ve spent quite a bit of time recently exploring the Black Dog, on the theory that (a) one should know one’s enemy and (b) familiarity breeds contempt. It’s been especially helpful to reconstruct my emotional history, knowing what I know now about the Dog. Even during my first years out of school, when in naïve retrospect I was on top of the world, I can clearly see his footprints. If nothing else, my mix tape explorations have taught me that.

I don’t think of this part of my work as a dance with the Dog, though. Mostly it’s about acknowledging my own emotions, something which my rational brain doesn’t let me do too often.