He moved through the crowd shaking hands, answering questions,
engaging in polite conversation. He was half way through the throng
when I realized he was headed in my general direction. He was three
quarters of the way through when I realized he was not merely
headed in my general direction but rather he was headed directly
towards me. Then he was in front of me and, looking me dead in the
eye with a look that penetrated my thoughts and my considerations
and my opinions and my very
itself, threw open his arms, said "Hello Laurence!" in that rich,
deep, Philadelphian accent, the blazing smile still flickering
across his face, and embraced me.
Jack Tar Hotel
1101 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California 94109-6919,
I remained by his side as he, his right arm draped over my
shoulders, continued to move through the crowd shaking hands,
answering questions, engaging in polite conversation. Even as I was
startled to be there with him so suddenly in that way, I knew (...
I always knew ...) I belonged there. Any vestiges of
doubt I still had disappeared when one of his associates looked at
me standing there with him, silently saying "It's ... O ... K! ...
It's ... O ... K!".
* * *
I was with him twenty five years later as his guest when he spoke
with a group of businessmen who run companies which run the world.
This was no lightweight group. Chief executives from American
Telephone and Telegraph were there; chief information officers from
major energy corporations were there, inter alia. He was speaking
about how, in
his own staff, he gets them to look at their withheld
communications, then at the withheld communications behind those
withheld communications, and then at the withheld communications
behind those withheld communications etc. Such a
process can last eighteen hours or even longer, is very, very
intrusive and is very, very down. The purpose of it is to
get people to confront the baseline communication which defines
their lives. And at some point, even the most willing
in this process (ie even those who started off being
in this process) may decide that this is "no fun anymore" and cry