Of Gold Watches & Tortoise Shell Combs

Listen, I know my life isn’t all sturm und drang.

I had lunch with a longtime colleague of mine today. Now, I rarely do lunch. I usually eat a salad at my desk. But lately, that I can combine a work conversation with a change of scenery (that is, something other than my computer monitor) is a huge revelation, and relief. So anyway, I’m at The Lodge, Viacom’s fairly lame cafeteria. But the fairly lame cafeteria has a deck about seventy-five feet above Times Square. So I was basically sitting parallel to that huge NASDAQ sign you see all the time on TV.

Anyway, Paul asks me how I’m doing. I’ve known Paula long time, so I proceed to unload, leading with something like, “I’m strugglin’ dude.” And while that’s maybe a hair melodramatic, well, I kinda’ am. A little bit. So we talk, and — as a husband and father — he offers some decent perspective (as many of my male friends have of late). Most of all, though, he just listens, which is kind of invaluable in its own right. So, just before I reign it all in and start talking about meetings, work flow, and the network’s product development process, I say, “Yunno, when we were eight-years-old, our legs ached at night. That’s how we knew we were growing.” The metaphor kinda’ stuck.

Tonight, I walked home in a warm drizzle listening to “This American Life.” I wasn’t really feeling the episode (“The Missing Parents”) in concept, but the sound of Ira Glass’ voice backed by the dull rush of tires on wet pavement was somehow soothing.

I ducked into D’Agostino and called Abbi.

“I’m at the D’Agostino. Need anything?”

“I’m at Whole Foods,” she replied. “Do you need anything?”

And I thought there was some nice, vaguely “Gift of the Magi” symetry going on there.

Back home at The Westport, Abbi walked me down to the gym and introduced me to Gary the, um, I dunno — The Guy Who Runs The Gym. Anyway, Gary signs me up, and teaches me how to use the fingerprint recognition system that gains me entry to work out. Yeah, you heard me. Fingerprint Recognition System. That’s some crazy Daniel Craig level shit.

Then Gary, The Guy Who Runs The Gym, shows me (and Abbi, and my Cannondale M900) to the bike room. First coup: my ($125 a year) parking spot is right by the door. But it get’s better. There’s a compressed air pump right there in the bike room! Bad ass.

So upstairs, Abbi microwaves some coconutty chicken dish and pours salad from a bag and we settle down in front of the boob tube and what’s on? Bill Moyers Journal. Damned if we didn’t skip American Idol and Lost to revel in Mr. Moyers thoughtful deconstruction of media’s failure in the march to war. Even Abbi, who’s a tad more conservative than I like to admit, had to laugh when she heard Bush utter the phrase “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud” for the fourth, fifth, and seixth time.

So my legs ache a little bit (yunno, metaphorically), but, all and all, not a bad day.

Oh, wait. Here’s the clincher. Bubba Gump Shrimp Company manager Carly Shanklin finally got back to me.

Hello Benjamin!

I am SO sorry. Since the beginning of spring break this place has been a mad house and I have not gotten around to writing you back. Ok, so I went back outside to the restaurant and showed Tom your picture that was on the inside of the CD and this is what happened:

Tom: Ummmm, Carly, thats not the guy who left me the note with the CD. Who is that?

Carly: OH MY GOSH!!!!! Thats the artist from that CD and I just sent him an e-mail about how his marketing ploy worked! I am such a doofuss!

Tom: You really sent that guy an e-mail?!

Carly: Sure did, oh well… Everyone thinks Im crazy, whats one more person gonna hurt?

And that my friend is pretty much where this story ends. Sorry to disappoint you. I wish I could of wrote a tale of all tales that involved laughter, tears and triumph, but sadly this story ends with merely a shrug of the shoulders and an e-mail.

Nuttin but the best of luck to ya!


The mystery is solved. Mistaken identity. Now I can go to sleep, and dream sweet dreams of massive productivity, prolificness, and, um… prosperity. And the cover of The Rolling Stone.

Sleep tight!