When Great Men Fall

I still can't get that final image of Dennis Kozlowski out of mind.

After our nearly one-hour chat, we are allowed to briefly walk around the prison meeting room arranged for this occasion.

He points out a window to show me his world and the limits of that world. A barb wire fence, I suspect little more than 15 feet from that window.

That's it — no going past it.

His world and I am leaving it.

But before I do, one final handshake and then prison guards lead him quietly to a door.

Glass on top, wire mesh in between.

I can still see him quite clearly. And he, me.

He nods. I nod.

As he just stands and waits.

For others, not at all like those days when others waited for him.

But others are in no rush for him. Nor he for they.

So he stands alone.

I don't know how to describe that look as I wave one last time.

It's not sad. Or depressed. Just lonely. Very lonely. It seems in two years, he has aged ten.

This titan who once ruled the corporate world, who had so many hangers-on... now hangs by himself.

Resigned to his fate. Eerily philosophical about that fate. Content — yet concerned.

And then, in a moment, gone.

Back to his cell. Back to his chores. Laundry today. For which he'll make a dollar today. Then he'll read.

If he's lucky, take some calls from family members.

And then, go to bed. Early, always early.

It is so hard for me to fathom. Not how quickly great men can fall. But how quickly they resign themselves to the simple fact... they have.

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