Friday, May 01, 2009

Work is Play


KHUK KHAK, Thailand - There is no 'slow lane' on southbound Lake Shore Drive in Chicago on a Saturday night.

We were in the far right lane, the exit lane, but it wasn't slow, by any means. Larry, the used-to-be smartest guy I knew, until he slammed on the brakes and threw it into reverse, was at the wheel.

I'm not that smart, but I know you can't pull some shit like that on an eight-lane expressway, which I said to him as we were going backwards.

A seventeen-year old kid rear-ended us after Larry hit the brakes and shifted back into drive, slithering away on rain-sickened streets, but not fast enough to avoid the collision.

Both cars pulled over, they got out, checked it out, little or no apparent damage, and Larry pulled another smart move. He handed the kid a hundred bucks and said, "Whaddya say we let it go at that?"

The kid gladly accepted, probably because there were two of us and one of him, and maybe he didn't see the back-up lights or see us reverse direction and go forward again before fish-tailing and smacking us in the back, and may have thought it was his fault. Maybe.

When we got back into the car and proceeded on our way, I just had to sit there and look at the guy for awhile. I thought he was one of the smartest people I knew. Went to Yale, and shit. Lived down the hall from the founders of microsoft or Apple or some melarky like that. Was talking laptops and Dick Tracey wireless internet connections back in the seventies. "Just imagine!" he exclaimed.

Anyway, Larry dropped a couple of points in the Smartest People I Know ranking, akin to Texas falling to Oklahoma late in the season, down from two to three or four, and I really didn't know the other five well enough to ascertain the depth of their knowledge and sarcasm, or their degree of brilliance. So, it was all pretty much relative and irrelevant, really.

But anyway, that's all beside the point. One of the things Larry once said was, "Work is play!" and I wanted to pass that along to you.

And Carl would add, "Until it's not."