OK, so, I got stuck in the shower again Sunday with Smiley and West. It turns out that if you’re African-American, you should hate private equity. Who knew? And knowing something – anything – about private equity apparently is not a prerequisite. (If you’re a new reader and you’re wondering why I was stuck in the shower with two guys named Smiley and West, get your mind out of the gutter and scroll back to “Long Showers and Racist Rants.” It will all become clear.)
As an aside, I heard a few minutes of them in the car the other day, which included Smiley sharing a bit of his personal story. It is extraordinary – one of 13 children in a three-room apartment, etc. If he would stick to the truth and stop ranting about how everyone needs a handout, he would be incredibly inspiring.
Beyond that, I’m just not ready to be serious again, so I’ll share this. Yesterday, for the first time ever, I found myself wishing that I was a twit who tweeted on Twitter. Here’s what I would have said: “Pulled up at intersection across from beat-up minivan with license plate reading ‘PRO UMP.’ Seeing the dents, couldn’t help but wonder if driver has “corrective lenses” endorsement on his license.”
That same intersection is home to my local Chase branch. A few years ago, they installed a bank of beautiful new ATMs in their drive-through, which looks like this:
Each ATM is adorned with this plaque:
Now, I’m as in-favor of accessibility as the next guy, probably more so, but did I mention that this is the drive-through? Visions of seeing-eye dogs driving their masters to the bank.
And that reminds me of a story a cab driver told me years ago. I can’t swear that it’s true, but consistent with my rule that I never make this stuff up, I can attest that a real cabbie really told me this story, and told me he was the protagonist.
It starts with him picking up two passengers, one of whom was blind and had a seeing-eye dog.
(I’m going to stop the narrative here to reminisce about the days when we called them “Seeing-Eye Dogs.” Now they’re “Service Animals.” I guess someone figured that calling them dogs amounted to species profiling, and that suggesting that they were valued only for their eyes was bad for their self-esteem.)
Now back to our story. The two-legged passengers got in the backseat, and the dog curled up in the footwell in front of the front passenger’s seat. Wherever they were headed, they had to make a brief stop at the then-Sears, now-Willis (Swillis?) Tower. Asking the driver to keep the meter running, they left the dog in the car while the sighted person escorted the blind person into the building.
It was a sunny summer day. The driver said he was slouching in his seat, sunglasses on, when a man came rushing out of the building, jumped in the back seat and said, “I’m late! Can you get me to the Four Seasons?” The driver cocked his head in the direction of the footwell and said, “What do you think, Buddy, can we find the Four Seasons?” The passenger looked at the sunglasses, peered over the seat, saw the dog, opened the door and said, meekly, “That’s OK. I think I’ll take another cab.”
Again, I can’t swear that it’s true. But I sure hope it is.