I spent two days last week at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City attending an SEC Institute seminar on accounting policy. (If you haven't dropped dead from boredom at the completion of that last sentence, I commend you). The last time I'd been to that hotel was in the summer of 1994 when the now-defunct Arthur Andersen flew me up from Memphis to spend a weekend in the Big Apple apartment hunting. I was 21 years old and had just landed a job with that prestigious accounting firm. (Mind you, this all was many years before my time at the now-defunct Lehman Brothers).
Just now, something serendipitous happened to come my way. I found the above letter which I'd written to the editor of The Commercial Appeal while living in Memphis that summer. They'd run a syndicated column by Cal Thomas who was pontificating on the benefits Oliver North might bring to the U.S. Senate should he win the senatorial election in Virginia. This letter was my college-grad-know-it-all outrage. The Commercial Appeal ran it right away. It was the first time I'd ever seen something I'd written in print.
Two things stuck me upon finding this paper: (1) in the lower left hand corner of the page you can see I'm making a song list for an all-Allman Brothers mix tape; and (2) in the upper right hand corner, you can see me jotting down the information for my apartment hunting trip to New York. The '327' was the room number I was to meet people at Andersen's office on the '15th' at 'noon'.
I didn't find an apartment that weekend. I went out drinking with my cousin, strategically assisted with the midtown hotel room. A few weeks later, my cousin found an apartment for us and it would become my home until 2000. 2000 was also the last time I'd go Memphis. My parents moved away and so I've never had a reason to go back.
But I like this looking at this letter. There I was between two polar opposite identities. One moment, I was sitting in my parents home, playing guitar along with an Allman Brothers CD. Seconds later, with the same piece of paper, I was planning a trip to New York City to become that magnanimous new self. In between these things, I suppose I found time to voice convenient outrage.