L had me over for breakfast this morning. He introduced me to coffee without sugar, Hungarian paprika, and airsoft weaponry. L was a funny guy in law school. The best word that I can come up with to describe him in relation to law school is unassuming, though I admittedly have a small word-box. Because of his modest nature, I think many of his classmates, and perhaps even the faculty, didn't expect him to be among the most successful of the 2013 graduating class. I'm a huge fan of blowing up expectations, so I take quite a bit of delight in his success.
Still, he doesn't make a big deal out of it. He had a job right out of school (a good one that he seems to enjoy, even), is a trusted advisor to some powerful higher-ups in his company, and just signed a purchase order for his first home. But you'd really have to ask him about this stuff if you expect him to talk about it. Instead of bragging, or even thinking that he's brag-worthy, he's helping others -- feeding me breakfast, giving me the inside track on a position that is open at his company, and even letting me borrow one of his sweet helmets for a photo op. Just a really good guy with a great success story, perhaps made even better by the fact that nobody saw it coming.
I met today for coffee at a local shop with one of my former classmates, TJ. In law school, we were rather different. I was old-ish, had long hair, wore sweat pants more than anything else, generally didn't care, and had grades that reflected it. TJ was handsome, professional, and said intelligent things. We'd have been an incredible odd couple, except for the fact that we never really talked to one another. Instead, I sat in the back of the classroom and became familiar with the back of everybody, including TJ. From that angle though, he really seemed neat, and perhaps I was a little intimidated by him and his success.
As one might expect in a story like this, upon speaking with TJ, I found out that we had some things in common, not the least of which was an appreciation for the Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay Packers. We only spoke for about an hour though, when an odd thing happened. The headache that I'd been fighting for the past couple of hours, and for the past 35 years, really, got pissed off. I started perspiring like I was at an 8th grade "dance," and 99% of my attention was re-directed to the task of looking for a place to vomit, just in case. Fortunately, my gag reflex was strong that day, and my dignity was spared.
I drove away, rather clammy-feeling, thinking two things. The first was that perhaps I should have met up with TJ three years ago. Seriously, what was I waiting for? The world is full of really kind, interesting people, yet I had just spent three years staring at the back of TJ instead of introducing myself to his face-side. Weird. The second thing I felt was guilt, for perhaps not spending enough time with TJ, or for not giving him my full attention during our meet-up. As it turns out, trying not to vomit is really distracting. So, yeah, I'm sorry about that. But if it's any consolation, I hope that he's at least flattered that he made me sick. In my book, that ranks him right up there with my birthday and Halloween.