Sometimes, you can't make this stuff up. Coming in to work Friday morning, I bumped into an old acquaintance I hadn't seen in more than a decade. Back then he was a frequent guest of mine when I worked at CNBC -- that channel with all those numbers on the bottom of the screen.
After catching up on some pleasant matters, I realized how unpleasant his life had become. Back when I used to interview him, he was on top of the investment world. He made millions and he made headlines. He had a huge spread in Connecticut and a penthouse apartment in Manhattan. He collected fancy wines and even fancier vacation villas.
I remember one time his flashing me some Concorde Club card, indicating his many trans-Atlantic journeys on the fabled supersonic plane. At the height of it all, I remember he divorced his wife and married a much younger woman.
That was then. This is now and things have changed.
He got laid off in a big Wall Street shakeup a few years ago.
The seven-figure job? Gone.
The swanky penthouse? No more.
The vacation villas? Sold.
The stunning, young trophy wife? She took herself off the mantle and out of his life.
His kids don't talk to him and his former wife wants nothing to do with him.
I didn't know why he was telling me so much. But he seemed remarkably resigned to his fate, now selling computer modems, or some such stuff.
We caught up on people we knew and tried to remember others whose names we forgot. It was clumsy and awkward.
"Well, you seem to be doing well, Neil," he said.
"Yea," I replied. "For now, things are OK."
"Enjoy it," he advised. "It goes so damn quick."
And then we shook hands, promised to catch up and walked our separate ways. He, remembering the good life he once thought would last forever. And me, appreciating the good things I shouldn't assume will last for long.
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