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All, Writing & Ranting

“What Happened to That Guy?”

Way back when I was an intern for my old firm in downtown Cleveland, I’d often drive to West 117th or West 25th and take the rapid to Tower City instead of paying $14 a day to park in the garage attached to the Huntington Building where I worked.

There was a guy I’d talk to on the platform about once a week who called me Eli Manning, presumably because (to him) I looked like Eli Manning. There isn’t much resemblance.

At any rate, I was dressed in a suit and tie every day, and he looked like he might be wondering where his next meal was going to come from, but we talked. I gave him my time. I tell this because at this point in my life, I still felt very grounded.

I sit here two years later and wonder what happened to that guy.

No, not the guy who called me Eli – me. That younger version of me. Not that I go around being rude to people, or being inconsiderate, but I’d be lying if there weren’t times where I felt someone was beneath me, or I didn’t give them the respect they deserve.

I can see it a little if I squint.

I can see it a little if I squint.

I (and I think everyone else) need(s) to be brought down a peg from time to time. Come back down to Earth.

Would you hurry the fuck up with my order? Holy cow, walk a little faster – I don’t have all day. For Christ’s sake, who writes a check at the grocery store in 2014?

It’s all too easy to get annoyed. Hey, Mr. Investment Banker (yes, I went back to M&A, starting March 1st), the world doesn’t revolve around you.

Remember that guy who stood on the train platform in 15 degree weather. Remember that guy who listened to some old woman on the train talk about her daughter’s kids. Remember that guy who packed a lunch 4 days a week to save $20 to play golf Saturday morning.

Yeah, come back down to Earth. I miss that guy.

Mid-season form

Mid-season form

I need to keep part of that humble guy with me, because sometimes  I get a pretty big chip on my shoulder. I feel the need to prove I’m successful. Apparently, sometimes this means putting on airs. Ignoring “little people.” And I’ve only recently been able to recognize this.

Come back down to Earth, asshole. Having a job where your clothes need to be dry cleaned doesn’t make you special.

I miss that wet-behind the ears, innocent Anthony. He enjoyed the little things. Now I feel I often get so caught up in “me, me, me” that I miss those things.

“Holy shit, I got a hole in one” (18 months ago) is now a long gone memory, replaced by “Why the fuck am I not breaking 80 every time?”

“Paige, I got the internship!” has turned into, “Damn it, I have a couple hours of work to take home this weekend.”

“Guys, I made out with so and so last night at the party” (high school) used to be thrilling. I used to think about that for days. Or drive home after getting to second base with girlfriend #1 on her parents’ couch, then drive home grinning like I stole a car the whole way home.

Now? Now, it’s a casual “yep” on the golf course Saturday morning when the guys ask if I visited “pound town” lately.

“She asked me to hold her hands behind her back.”

Seriously.

What the fuck?

Twenty bucks playing poker in your friend’s parents’ basement isn’t enough when you’re 25. Better throw around a few hundred to feel the same rush.

We’re desensitized. Jaded. Selfish. Whatever you want to call it. At work, in our love lives, on the fucking golf course house of holies. We’re often so caught up in ourselves that we miss the simple joys, where we sit in the big picture, how others live. However you want to put it.

Wet behind the ears in 2007

Wet behind the ears in 2007

Am I a bad guy? No. Are you a bad guy? Probably not.

But when some guy with a shitty car and a worn out jacket at a gas station wants to talk about the Browns, I want to be the guy who gives him the time of day, not the prick who is annoyed to be in the cold another 30 seconds.

My advice to you? Get your head out of your ass and the “me, me, me” bullshit. Take a look around. See the world as it was when you were 20, 18, 16 every once in a while. It’ll slow down for you to enjoy the little things, I promise.

Talk to a stranger for crying out loud. Volunteer instead of writing a check.

Then you can go back to staring at your iPhone while waiting in line at Starbucks, posting to your blog and writing a prep sheet for your next podcast.

Don’t feel bad, because I’ll probably be stuck at a traffic light, wondering whether fish hooking is ok, even if she asks for it.

How did we get here?

About Anthony Russo

Jon Hamm look-alike. M&A Director of Marketing, golfer & expert amateur storm chaser. Have a cactus named Phil. Say what you want; let the market decide.

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