Jerry started an idea, in a bar on Mulberry street, twenty-eight years ago. The idea has survived, grown, and bloomed despite the best efforts of the stagnation inherent in committee process. This is no small achievement. A great idea.
Brian is a workaholic, like me. He'll call at eight at night and be surprised when I don't answer, but laugh when I return the call after I'm done with dinner. Mile a minute is too slow for this guy.
Ron is one of the original hippies, and never really learned how to read those subtle (and progressively less subtle) signs people make when it's time to bring the conversation to a close. Like shutting off lights and locking doors.
Lyn was Matriarch writ extra large in a family that had no shortage of extra largeness. She could out fast-talk the family fast-talker, out push the family pushy-one, and out man all three of the family men.
Alicia is one of the few people in this world who's not a member of a royal family but can pull off the wearing of a tiara at a public event. It's a function of carriage, bearing, grin and gaze.
Christie is proving the doctors wrong every single day, and proving the sun right to shine every time she smiles. No saint, I've seen frustration in her face, but so matter of factly getting on with life it motivates me.
Oladale went by simply Ola and ended up being the last person at college who'd play raquetball with me. He never got tired of losing, and wouldn't let me play left-handed. His entire strategy was hit the ball HARDER.
Henry says it isn't that hard to make art. What's difficult is being an artist continuously, every day, week after week, year after year, re-making your life into an ongoing artistic process from which art is allowed to bloom.
Jacob thinks the world owes him and lashes out at his mother in public with a kind of hyperactive anger that is difficult to witness. He's the only one in her life she'd ever take that kind of abuse from.
John has the company he started's logo tattooed on his own butt cheek and he's not afraid to show it around if it's late enough in the evening, and the music is just right, and the spotlights are working properly.
Tommy was the first man I ever knew who made me think "that guy's got no trouble attracting women." Dark, handsome, swarthy, muscular and virile all seemed to hover around him like an electron storm. Tank top, black mustache, motorcycle.
Freddy sold for a company that blew through managers. One, his first day, declared war on shortsleeved shirts by fining anybody wearing one a dollar. Freddy peeled off a fiver and said, "Here, I'm wearin' one every day this week."
Bob's goal in life was to be a Sheriff. His hero and role model was Buford T. Pusser. He bought a used country cruiser at auction, wore a utility belt and the boots every day. A slow steady transformation underway.
Carolyn said, hey, you guys are smart, what does this dream mean? I'm being chased by this guy and I got this STUPID gun that won't work, then he catches me, the gun works, I shoot him and kill him.
Terri married Packrat. He got transferred, she packed the house. He called her "saint for moving my packrattiness." She: "I threw most of it away." He: "What got thrown away??" She: "Say what you're missing, I'll say if it's gone."
Toni was my high school girlfriend's mother, a technical drafter, a divorcee, and had a personality that was the result of a high impact blend of fiercely independent and emotionally driven--that she divorced an accountant did not surprise me.
Buddy's idea of pleasant private club dinner conversation involved telling his guests about his new penile implant. They replaced one testicle with a manually operated bulb pump. He claimed it isn't LIKE a real erection, it IS a real erection.
Sean is a gossip, when you get right down to it. Always knows the dirt on everybody, and dishes it, as long as you've got some new dirt to barter with. Always without malice, he's just a consummate people person.
Joan probably wouldn't believe it, but she's one of the seven most influential women in my life. Her intelligence and bearing made me feel I was both justified of self-confidence, and capable of bettering myself further. A rare gift.
Bill is an absolutely unapologetic alcoholic who is better at his job, intoxicated, than all but perhaps two people in the entire would be at it sober. For every hidden hip bottle you find, he grins for six you didn't.
Ed the plumber lived across the street from his carpenter brother. When the washing machine broke, Ed fixed it. After he made the repair, he had me promise to demonstrate to his brother exactly how he'd done it: a genuflect.
Don sells little plastic parts. By giving away the knowledge on how to use them, and giving away a set for others to teach on, he sells enough of the little plastic parts to keep his entire family in BMWs.
Jim arrived on the scene all tall, dark, and handsome so it took a while for people to figure out that he was smiling that big, straight white toothed smile because he really had no clue what was going on.
Karl doesn't quite fit. In his clothes, in his skin. After I spend even small amounts of time with him, I get the crawly sensation that he goes home to his basement where he pulls the wings off of butterflies.
Marianne lives in a house that could be featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and has, featured prominently on her desk at work, a framed photocopy of the famous picture of the squirrel with elephantitis of the testicles.
Nancy had perfect penmanship, probably rulered into her by nuns. We used to say that she wouldn't say "shit" if she had a mouthful of it. She also never told anyone she had cancer until the week it took her.
Tommy was the salesman's salesman--didn't really matter what he was selling or which company he was working for, you were buying from Tommy, not whoever worked for. He used to pay off his Visa card with his American Express.
Helen snaps a smile that brightens up whole rooms, and a laugh that could create world peace if only the whole world could hear it. She has the gift of translating into art the way her eyes see the world.
Theresa was bedridden by Hodgkin's Disease the entire time I knew her. My dad told me how it crushed him to see how her body had betrayed her. She couldn't lift a pen but knew her accounts to the penny.
Jeff is the guy who achieved all his success by being such a relentless asshole that people give ground just to get him to shut up and go away. The first person to sport a permanent headset that never rang.