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#27 The long distance lesson

The next day my brother called from Chicago. He and my dad had just gotten back from a New York buying trip for their stores. He says now that Dad has seen my name under episode titles on television, he started grabbing vendors at the convention with, “Let me tell you about my son the writer!” This is coming from a man who said I was crazy to move to L.A. and “bang my fingers on a typewriter.”

Tom tells me that while they were in New York, they met with Citibank to try and close a deal for a quarter of a million dollars to buy spring inventory.

You should know my father always harbored borderline hostility toward the college-educated, himself having barely graduated from high school. As an aside, he made up for his lack of formal education by voraciously consuming two or three novels a month.

On this day, Tom and my dad are in the office of a Citibank VP, my brother nervously glancing at framed diplomas from Wharton, Harvard Business School, and Princeton. For the next half hour Tom listened to my father saying “Yes, Mr. Franklin”, “No, Mr. Franklin” and “Of course, Mr. Franklin.”

After they left the office and headed toward the elevator, Tom shook his head. My dad asked, “What?” My brother said, “I know how you feel about college boys. I’m shocked how you handled that.” My father asked, “Did we get the loan?” When my brother said, “Yes”, my father said, “Screw him...”

Lesson? Sometimes you have to bite your tongue.


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