I know I was gone for 250 of the 300 days available in 18 months for this season… New York’s taxes are SO horrendous AND they only tax you when you are “in the state” that you actually keep track. When I had the chance to actually take the family to Chicago (where Beth’s folks were) for a business conference, I jumped at the chance. Leaving the kids with the Grandparents, we headed down for a “social” interchange sponsored by IBM… and who should she run into but a High School classmate. His first question was “Why are you here?”… to which she replied “My husband works for IBM” His response is a classic story in our house – no “wow I haven’t seen you in years, how’s your mom?… “Go Get him!”
Bruce was the head of an IT group in Chicago, and piloting a bunch of advanced IBM equipment. I came over and started chatting him up, and Beth went off to get Ernie Bank’s signature. It was a Baseball themed event (being in April..) and luckily she was a fan. I learned quickly that he was well connected with people I knew also in Boca, and we struck up a friendship that continues to this day. But the best part was telling our mutual friend. With my “intelligence” cover, Ed was convinced I had “sources” and already “knew everyone”. So when I dropped gently into the conversation I was just catching up with Bruce, he stopped cold… “…. You know BRUCE??”
After self-producing/recording/selling out of the back of their van their first album, Cake was signed to Capricorn (the same as Marshall Tucker…) and started getting promotion outside of the Indie circuit. Tailor-made for that audience, the broader national scene caught on to their irony. “”The gimlet eye and sardonic humor of 1994’s Motorcade of Generosity is intact, but Fashion Nugget is aptly named; it updates Motorcade with beatboxy soul and hip-hop rhythms”. The lyrics being spoken helps you appreciate just how ironic they are in most songs, while their music to me is going in 3 ways simultaneously – exactly what they were going for.
Ed was the inventor of OS/2, and Bruce had been piloting it along with some advanced networking software, so they had many meetings before this one, but connecting on the floor of this trade show sealed my stance as an “insider”. I was invited into meetings that I should never been in, but because of “intelligence” and learning not to out myself, I was able to participate and influence many things in that era. And our fearless leader, Pete, knew it. He also had an ace in the hole, with the President of the whole division a personal contact/friend/mentor, which he rarely use. Developing those partners as you move ahead, and keeping them current and updated on your growth is an evergreen process I now teach others…
… to say nothing about the partner I left home for all of those days, with 3 small children. We are in a season where many are home with their kids of all ages, and those partners are intruding on the “work” we all think is vital. And while it feels that way now for sure, you will look back at some point and realize it is the partners you will remember. We recently got pictures from our neighbor across the street then – a Godsend who also had one small child, and was a neighbor you would dream for. Always around, well connected, generous – which was important because I was none of those. Fun is probably not what it was at the time, but looking back, she helped Beth make the best of me being… Never There.