To look at Al or any of the other 25 people with whom I’ll be
associating over the next few days, you wouldn’t guess that we have a room block
at Greenville, SC’s best hotel. You wouldn’t guess we’re world travelers or
enjoy the finer things in life. We are collectively long-hairs, wild-eyed
maniacs, professional drinkers, and other things that can’t be written about in
this forum. In our private lives, we are lawyers, writers, entrepreneurs,
medical professionals, and executives. If you were to see us this weekend, you
might wonder if the circus is in town or there was a jailbreak.
named it “Mastodon Weekend” last year, an homage to the mastodon’s inability to
evolve. It was simply an excuse for a few buddies to get together and cause some
trouble. This year, it’s grown. Now somewhere between two and three dozen people
are coming in from out of town for no other reason than it seems sort of fun. We
are people who are either unable or loathe to evolve.
Out of town means
more than “Big Pirate is driving up from Columbia” (which he is, by the way). By
early Friday, we will have people on the ground from L.A., San Francisco,
Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Detroit,
Cincinnati, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Asheville.
That does not include the two people who are driving down from north of Toronto.
About the only thing left was was these people are pretty successful as well. It is such an interesting group of people. Frankly, the majority of these people intimidate me. Thankfully it is not in a bad way. It is the way I was raised. Parents divorced when I was very young, I grew up raised by my mother. She did enough to put clothers on our back and food in our bellies. That is why I usually sit back and listen to their stories. Their life experiences are so much better than mine.
My mom worked hard to provide for us. I get my work ethic from her. But it took a toll on her. She wasn't the most sociable person outside of work. Family and work was her life. I think that got ingrained in me as well. Growing up I didn't spend much money and was always saving. I didn't take advantage of opportunities that came along to experience life because I didn't have the money or I thought I should save it for something really important.
That train of thought ended about 10 years ago. I realized that too much of life was passing me by. I needed to stop living in a shell and had to say "what the fuck" more. It still took me a couple of years to really make that happen. It would start on a trip to Vegas by myself. To just get away from it all. A couple of months later it was back to Vegas to meet a complete group of strangers that shared an interest in poker. Soon it would be going to Philly, Chicago, Key West, and Greenville.
Many doors have opened since then. I try to step through as many as I can. Each group of friends I have- somehow I have 4 distinct groups- is special in their own way. I am humbled and thankful they ask me to join them on their escapades. I am happy that hard work has paid off and I am able to go be stupid in different parts of the country.
So let me thank Otis, BadBlood, GRob, and the Mark once again for a fantastic weekend. The memories will live on forever.