Thursday, October 4, 2012


A couple of days ago I wrote a blog post about a fellow I worked with long ago. Today I’d like to continue the theme and tell a story about a different co-worker at my next job. I was very happy to escape my job at the department store chain and go to work at a bank holding company with a bunch of people who tended to respect marriages and families. I had a brilliant and slightly eccentric co-worker named Rob Arnott. Rob went on to become a well-known player in the world of investments and investment theory, but for the moment he and I pretended to be peers. I think he and I even had the same titles when I started, but management soon recognized his extraordinary talent and made him a vice president. Rob got all excited about this and went out and bought a lovely house in the suburbs.

One day Rob came to work late, wearing new glasses. I commented on them, and he told me how he came to buy them. The day before, he’d left the office a little late. He went home by train, and his wife would be waiting for him at the station so he ran all the way from our office to the train station on a hot summer evening. Rob always seemed a little soft to me, and I had a hard time imagining him running so far at all, let alone in a business suit and leather shoes, probably even carrying a briefcase. Miraculously, he got to the station on time as the train waited beside the platform.

Well, he wasn’t exactly on time. As he ran up to the train, it began to move. Rob sprinted toward the still-open door in the last car. The train slowly accelerated, and as Rob neared the door the train began going fast enough that my unfortunate friend realized he could not board. Exhausted and in despair, he fell to his knees, ripping the knees out of both legs of his suit pants and scraping up the palms of his hands. The conductor standing by the door took pity and signaled the engineer to stop the train. Grateful, Rob got on and sat down by a window to rest and cool off.

Sweaty and gasping for breath, he stuck his head outside the window. The train gathered speed and started around a curve. Rob took a deep breath, relaxed and WHOOSH! the wind blew the glasses right off of his face. Glasses were practically a part of Rob’s identity at the time, and I can imagine the horror on his wife’s face as Rob stepped off of the train with empty face, his knees bleeding through the holes in his pant legs, and his hands all skinned up.

This little setback didn’t interfere with Rob’s ultimate success. You can read a recent article about him here.

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