We had decided to launch a web design business. I had shown initiative and a certain level of flair as a designer in these early days of low bandwidth and high expectations. I needed a sales force. The always debonair Steve Taylor was indeed a force of nature, but the looming question was would he find this business partnership something he would take seriously enough to apply some of those "looking good selling ice to Eskimo" skills.
My own brother Clyde, a home and commercial roofing magnate in Atlanta, after six months of prepping me to run a new satellite office he wanted to open in the DC area, went silent, just a few weeks before, and I had sensed something was fishy, and that this "opportunity" was not going to happen for me. Clyde finally answered his phone that morning, and acted as if nothing was supposed to be going on between us although just a few weeks before this was to be a life-changing transition for both of us. Finally, I pressed, only to hear him say to me, wryly, without apology or irony, that he had just bought a boat. Yep, I knew it. Clyde is the type of person who obsesses and is always churning over the details of a new financial strategy, and was doing just that for months on end with me until the tell-tale silence two to three weeks before.
Steve, my closest friend at the time, was also given to similar mystifying behavior. I knew Clyde's to be pure selfishness, down to the last atom in a Heisenberg count like any achievement oriented American businessman because that's what it takes in today's guttersnipe environment. Mr. Taylor however, was apt to opt for degenerative spiraling for what seemed it's own sake, a nasty habit I knew salted my own basket of fries from time to time.
That background bring us to this rather muted exchange between Steve and myself, though the poison of past experiences was bubbling just below the surface tension of events real and imagined, traded calmly via email on Saturday, 17 May 1997.
GT: I know we can do this web design thing with great rewards, but there are things to work out and follow through upon. With the three of us wanting the same thing at the same time, the world doesn't stand a chance denying us. I am ready. BUT IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? (Moody Blues 1971), So your early morning enthusiam about getting together early this afternoon is already waning?
GT: Whoa! That would be a first. SET dropping by to pow wow without drinking.
GT: But I've been needy all afternoon thinking it would be great to have a confidence builder named Steve Taylor in my orbit, but as typical, I seem to be on my own with every personal tragedy always in some queue, while others seek out me as a close ear over and over again. Perhaps you feel I let you down the other day, but I didn't.
[TaylorS]I don't feel let down. Your work helped solidify a reputation I was already building with a reputable media contact. Maximum respect to you. Every thing you do at Howrey or wherever is your own autonomous call, but not every thing you do is self-edifying, gratifying maybe, edifying no, and that's all I tried to point out.
GT: Sue just called, and rushed in with consoling voice to comfort me in what she knew was an agonizing afternoon after that Clyde bomb. Very sweet of her. She was there this morning. She heard my side of the conversation and she knows Clyde first hand and why I had to finally tell him what I told him.
[TaylorS]To hell with Clyde.
GT: But I understand, Steve. If you don't want to come by, simply don't. You know, I'm too cynical to beg. Do drop by when you feel it convenient. Blah, blah, blah.
[TaylorS]My main concern with stopping by is bike time. I would rather not put my [currently] less self in the line of traffic fire for too long.
[TaylorS]That could happen.
GT: This Clyde thing is synchronistic fatalism at its most timely. Let us learn from that fiasco, and invent ourselves properly. And another thing. Answering machines (despising my own voice) somewhat intimidate me, as does writing e-mail seems to intimidate not a few others. I know I come off rather sarcastic at times on the box, but I don't really mean to sound that way, nor do I wish to impugn your work habits, especially at the jobplace. What usually happens is that I'm making a joke from frustration in trying to reach you, a joke you would probably volley in infinite jest if we were face to face or even voice connected, but be assured I'm frightfully aware the problem is mine, and that I need to improve my voice machine skills to a more Stevelike level since I do tend to puzzle you, or rather grizzle you with my sour messages from time to time. I apologize for any and all.
[TaylorS]Thanks for clearing that up. understood.
GT: Okay you just called and it seems we are on for this afternoon. Great! Let's make it mean something. With all this defeat in the air, I feel like shit, real nasty run down my leg and up again shit...
GT: And I also realize I grow a little short and disrepectful of you at times, and really don't want to continue down that path, but indeed you should start measuring up at the plate, and I think all will be just dandy between. Let it be said you and I are not my brother's brother...
[TaylorS]Hey, I've certainly started to scorn youthful hubris in early-twenty-somethings, so I can see from where you are coming.
Earlier, this is what I posted to Sue:
What was not mentioned in that note to Peter was, no, I am not expecting SET to stop everything to focus on OUR project. We all have to eat and blow great wads of money in places we think make us feel manifest, moxy, and maximized carbon-based lifeforms, but I am simply saying, let's get serious, or else just simply quit this shadowboxing shit. It's wearing me out, and going nowhere fast, uh slow? And now that the Clyde and Ricky show is floating belly-up, I'm feeling a little, no, a lotta sick inside.