Friday, December 11, 2015

Last night.

Whenever I have to go to an agency Christmas party like I did last night, I get a little nervous. It’s not that I don’t like people or I’m unable to have fun, it’s just that, to be frank, I feel overwhelmed. There are too many people, and more often than not, wherever we have the party is too loud and too crowded by half.

Last night, trying to tell one funny story, I felt my throat growing hoarse mid-punch line. I knew then, feeling phlegmy, it was time to go home

The truth is when I’m in such situations, where I feel even more like a fish out of water than usual, I think of this passage from one of my favorite short stories, this one by J.D. Salinger, and called “For Esme, With Love and Squalor.”

“And as I look back, it seems to me that we were fairly unique, the sixty of us, in that there wasn't one good mixer in the bunch. We were all essentially letter-writing types, and when we spoke to each other out of the line of duty, it was usually to ask somebody if he had any ink he wasn't using. When we weren't writing letters or attending classes, each of us went pretty much his own way. Mine usually led me, on clear days, in scenic circles around the countryside. Rainy days, I generally sat in a dry place and read a book, often just an axe length away from a ping-pong table.”

That’s me, kind of, in a nutshell: A lousy mixer and more of a letter-writing type. And always in search of ink. Though no one, not even me, writes letters anymore.

That said, in many ways, as hermetic as I am, I’m a lucky guy

I work with bright, funny, curious and attractive people. They’re people that work hard and care about the work and the people they work with.

That’s something to be thankful for this holiday season.

Like I said, I’m a lucky guy.

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