As I sit here writing, I am staring at an hourglass my son, Eli, picked up at a stoop sale this weekend. The words ring in my ears from years of soap-opera watching: "Like sand through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives..."
Sappy, sacharine and so, so true. Recently I had the great pleasure of hosting a very old friend in my Brooklyn apartment, someone whom I have seen only at high school reunions over the last 20 years but who, according to my scrapbook, figured large especially in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
Matt Knox wrote me a letter in 1981 from his vacation in Santa Ana, California. I found it recently as he sat in my kitchen, in town from his current home in fabulous Manhattan Beach, California to promote his awesome online home-improvement and construction classifieds, DiggersList.
In it he told me "when you grow up you should be a marige (sic) counselor, or maybe a therapist. You do a good job talking to people."
He laughed as I read it out loud. "I said that?" he marveled. Neither of us remember the advice I'd given to warrant the comment, suffice to say it was helpful enough then that he appreciated it. So glad. The stakes were lower then, for sure, "marige" a far way off. But our problems are always hard to us at the time no matter how silly they might seem in hindsight.
It was as if no time had passed as we caught up on each other's lives, the various endeavors that had brought us through the years to now, to this moment when we are both working in our separate ways, on separate coasts, to help people do what they want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.
He was high when he arrived here on the sheer exhiliration of offering interviews all day on what DiggersList can do. He smiled big even as he showed my kids on the Internet a ski jump like the one he didn't quite make it over, the one that had him in a cast for months and that has turned him into a bionic man (one afraid forever that he will set off the alarm at airport security.)
His big smile was the thing I remembered most about Matt, the thing that captured me then and now and is, likely, what captured those who had the good fortune to talk to him all over the New York media.
The connection we'd forged back then had stood the test of time because we are, of course, the same as we were. I still talk to people all around to try to help and learn from them how to help myself. I have no degree, but neither did I in the sixth grade when I chatted with my friend about how he might forge ahead in his relationships. Matt is as engaged with the world and the people in it as he was then. And that's why I gave him a gold star and good luck in all his endeavors...