Not today, Dave

I thought I was writing about this thing at the Salesforce Dreamforce conference, and I was, but it turns out I was writing about something else, more. Plus 7 other things worth your time.

“The walk over here was the longest of my life,” Judd Hirsch once said to a woman in a 1983 episode of Taxi. “But the walk back will be even longer if you don’t smile.”

Not the worst line ever, I guess, but it doesn’t work out for Hirsch’s character.

The woman he wants to meet shoots him down. When he persists, she sprays him in the eye with Binaca.

Ahh, the ‘80s.

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It’s funny that I remember that. It’s funny how your mind works.

I probably saw the scene once—a rerun during high school, decades ago. Yet the 10-second line has stayed with me all these years.

30 seconds

Time is relative. Memory, too. Things leave impressions or they don’t.

A short walk can feel like forever. A month can disappear in the blink of an eye.

Years after U.S. prisoners of war came back from Vietnam, the military studied how to survive long periods of solitary confinement. One idea: self-hypnosis.

Here’s what I think got me onto all of this.

A protestor turned up at the Salesforce Dreamforce conference in San Francisco yesterday, hoping to draw attention to the company’s controversial contract with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

CEO Marc Benioff was speaking. He offered a deal, according to CNBC:

“Okay, we’re going to let you talk for 30 seconds,” Benioff said to the man. “At the end of the 30 seconds, you have to agree that you’re going to leave. Do you agree?”

A giant digital timer on the screen then began ticking down.

The protestor got his half minute, but he didn’t get a microphone.

He talked quickly, yet almost nobody could hear what he had to say.

Minute by minute

Across the country, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and vice-presidential national security aide Jennifer Williams testified before Congress.

People were watching. Dissecting. Arguing. Tweeting. Minute by minute by minute.

New facts came out. Few minds were changed.

It feels like history—but then again, who really remembers history?

Wait a second. Wait a second. I just realized—

I swear, writing this thing is like therapy somedays. It wasn’t the Salesforce thing that got me on this theme, after all.

It wasn’t Vindman and Williams. It wasn’t Congress or Donald Trump.

It was an email:

Hey man, how's things? Today's the 10 year anniversary of Dave's passing. Can't believe he's been gone that long. I remember when you called and just hearing the tone in your voice and knowing what had happened even before you said it.

Not today, Dave

I had two close friends in high school: John and Dave. Dave died young. John wrote the email above.

I wouldn’t have predicted Dave’s future back then. Among the three of us, he’d been the athlete—the muscular guy who took fitness and nutrition very seriously. You wouldn’t have wanted to mess with him.

One Friday night in high school, the three of us were walking on Thayer Street in Providence, R.I. We liked going there. Record stores, fast food, people. Lots of girls.

(Lots of my weak version of: “The walk over here was the longest of my life…”)

I hadn’t mellowed yet, and this one night, I got into an argument with some other guy from some other school.

I have no idea what it was about, but I remember Dave stepped in, got me out of it with my teeth still intact.

Later, he was highly amused. He told me: "If you're going to keep mouthing off to people like that, I'd better keep lifting weights."

It’s funny that I remember that. It’s funny how your mind works.

I read an idea that people die three times: when their body stops working, when they’re buried, and after the last time anyone says their name.

Not today, Dave.

Dave. Dave. Dave. Dave. Dave.

7 other things worth reading

  1. What do the U.S. secretaries of state and defense, and many other Trump administration officials have in common? They all went to West Point together: class of 1986. (Politico)

  2. The attorney general of D.C. is suing Doordash, saying it’s been stealing its workers’ tips. (CNBC)

  3. 9 years later, Swedish prosecutors dropped the rape charges that led Julian Assange to spend years seeking asylum and living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. (He’s still in custody pending extradition to the U.S.) (Yahoo.)

  4. The people who bought Sports Illustrated insist they didn’t buy a business, they bought a brand. (Vox.)

  5. A prosecutor who allegedly used his own daughter as bait to catch an alleged predator now could face child endangerment charges of his own. (The Washington Post)

  6. I love Aruba. They country’s tourism board is now pushing an “election disconnection” package to get Americans out of the U.S. prior to the 2020 election. (Business Insider)

  7. A vegan customer is suing Burger King for cooking meatless Impossible Burgers on the same grills they use to cool traditional meat burgers. (NBC News)

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