Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Vanishing History

Who validates one's personal history? As long as there are some co-conspirators in the world there is an affirmation of some kind. But suddenly whoof and they vanish. Even though you mightn't have seen them in years and years, there is a fresh hole in life's tapestry.

I worked for a man yonks (35+ years) ago. He was self-made and proud of it. Started out as a shipper and bought the company and then expanded it into a diversified multi-billion dollar enterprise, still ongoing and successful.

I learned a lot from him. We were roughly the same age, in our thirties at the time. Did a lot of drinking together. He was a fierce womanizer. But not with me. I could put on an "off limits" thing quite well and he wasn't the type to harass to get his jollies. More the opposite. Women would throw themselves at him as he was quite attractive. Movie stars even. He was involved in the entertainment business among many others. Many was the time after work we would have dinner together. I got to know him like a brother. He always wore a shirt with two pockets. In one was a list of his assets, in the other was a list of his liabilities and over dinner we'd talk about the financial statements and he'd make minute adjustments to these index cards. And I'd talk for him at meetings with our financiers as I didn't think it a good idea for him to extract these cards from his pockets and have the important bankers sneer at him. Later on of course he didn't give a damn what anyone thought.

He was the most intelligent person I've ever worked for even though he never, to my knowledge, cut a book open. A grade 10 education. His hobby was his business. He told me it came before anything else, family, love, relationships of any kind. And it did. He was driven. His friends (male) were all driven. At the time, being treated like a "friend" by him made me realize I was probably the only close female in his life he wasn't sleeping with. He would freely talk to me about his women and the problems he encountered when they found out about each other. Which was frequently.

He was generous to a fault and rarely got mad except when his business associates betrayed him.

I could write loads more, it would make you shake your head in disbelief as his life was truly stranger than fiction.

He died yesterday. Liver cancer. A multi-billionaire living in the safety of Nassau.

I dreamed of him last night which was odd, I hadn't thought about him in forever. We were having dinner in the lobby of some hotel and he was wearing Armani. And I was in jeans and a sweatshirt and we were talking intensely as we always did. About yachts. He owned quite a few.

An extraordinary man. An extraordinary life.

23 comments:

  1. Maybe you'll be writing his biography!
    Sounds like a unique friendship between you.
    Nice dream, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Naw, not really "friendship" Kate - he was too self-involved for that. I did meet his parents, some of his lovers, his brothers, but never in a domestic situation. I think he was a very lonely man inside and he truly was addicted to the trappings of wealth. His best friend was murdered in front of him which was part of his story. Not enough there for a biography though it might be fun to fictionalize the unknowns.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  2. Sounds like a fascinating guy. His obsession with his company was a typical male trait, I guess. Did he ever have a wife or regular girlfriend or was he too driven to have time for more than bedmates?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wives ++ Nick, if you catch my drift. An addiction. He was unknowable to many. I could never say I knew him as he was quite unreachable. Charming though a complete an enigma. Came to work with an Irish setter which I could never fault :)

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting. The kind of person I avoid,which is due to my lack of imagination about men!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pretty hard to do when he's an employer, Hattie :)

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have known others like him over here and the fact of different nationalities does not take away the common traits such entrepreneurs have. Truly a remarkable man to have known.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I find even dislikeable people sometimes the most fascinating to study as preconceived notions are often so very wrong.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  7. Extraordinary tale too! Strange that you should dream about him like that the night he died.
    Just proves when the times up, no amount of money can save you.
    Maggie x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually Maggie, it's the night of the day I was told about him that I dreamed of him.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  8. Strange that you dreamed about him just the previous night. His life sounds sad to me, always seeking something not found. I guess my view is colored by a close relation with a successful business life but wives++++ (and on).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true. Being in an intimate relationship with someone that ambitious would be lacking in ongoing support and emotional unavailability. I saw it first hand with wives' distress.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  9. Yeah....does our 'history' vanish with us, that's what I'm taking the question as....
    In a way, yeah, it does. The last images of my dad, in my brain, and other things from that time, the 50's mostly will vanish. Gone, with me. Nothing I did in my life will outlast me by 50 years, at the very most. What then?
    We'll be part of the earth, a part of the air we breath now, somehow somewhere.
    What will we have? My view? Nothing, other than the oblivion we all seek when things are too much for us.It's helpful, isn't it, for us to think there is something else, something beyond this life. We're reborn, we come back in some fashion, or it's the other way, we go on to that afterlife, where we meet 'god'.
    That's fine, for all it comforts, best to them.
    Back to the question, does history vanish. No, it does not.
    What does remain is the question: what does that history, the things before us, mean? What do we do with the knowledge?
    We're working on the history past right now, the current issues and events are just a fast forward on the events of previous years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Endless cycles I guess you're saying, doomed to repeat and who's to know about cellular memory? God and this magical heaven where birthdays are still celebrated and endless frolicking pervades life is a comfort to so many and I don't see anything wrong with it apart from the treatment of planet earth in the meantime. Because Rapture. Because Saved.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  10. 'Dreaming about'or 'thinking about' are terms that Elly does not like to hear me utter, often we discover that the object of my thoughts has rolled off the cushion of life. I am well resigned to the fact that when my time comes, any space I held, will refill quickly with others and I will be forgotten and that is how it should be... we are here for a moment... a speck of dust on the planet. Hopefully today will be mine and I can use it to help and not hinder others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "the object of my thoughts has rolled off the cushion of life" what a lovely turn of phrase, GM. Though life can be a prickly cushion at times :) Yes, just a moment in time. Make of it what we will indeed.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  11. I know the feeling. Except for the very large urban school district for which I worked 21 years, all the rest of my employers are gone. Kaput. Out of business. It's almost like they never existed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I was trying to describe that feeling. Though one of mine, an awful ex-marine guy who snapped at everyone and everything, smoked like a chimney and drank like Niagara is still among us, tottering around on FB looking like Keith Richards. LOL

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  12. All that success but ultimately, for what? I don't know... it sounds sad to me that he was so driven. But I also don't want to judge, not knowing how he really felt about his life. Obviously made some women unhappy, though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know SAW, I think he got his jollies where he found them and as money bought them and wasn't much of a deep philosopher and I'd say he died happy, feeling successful.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  13. I'm sorry for the loss of your ex-boss. I hope he was happy and that he did some good in the larger world with his money. How are you?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Unexpected losses can be particularly impacting so I'm not surprised you might have dreamed of this unique individual in your life. Years ago I had a former boss with whom I'd not had a romantic relationship but had developed a lasting friendship with sustained contact through the years across the separating miles. I initially denied the fact of his death thinking it was one of his jokes, then felt quite shaken with the reality. My sympathy to you.

    Especially this past decade I've experienced family, friends decreasing significantly in number. I wonder how much longer some of the few left will be here, or will I depart first? I sometimes think part of me goes with them -- what we shared that I alone am left to remember but only from my perspective. And now I have learned the only contemporary friend left who has known me all my life is probably facing an unknown but shortened time. For me, these losses have been the most unwelcome part of aging -- the most unjust are those much younger I selfishly had comforted myself into believing would always be here with me.

    ReplyDelete

Some of you are having trouble, I've removed captcha and verification so we'll see how that goes. My apologies. Blogger is putting up far too many roadblocks. Thanks for the emails alerting me.
wisewebwomanatgmail.com