This month, my life is perfectly split in two.
Exactly 24 years ago this month, I turned 24. What I remember most from that month wasn’t my birthday: It was this guy I met.
He was very, VERY short. I remember that.
So short, in fact, that the first time I met him, someone just… handed him to me. Seriously. They handed me a guy.
I didn’t really know how to interact with him, so I turned to my wife, who normally does my socializing. She seemed really tired, so this guy and I just kind of stared at each other.
He wouldn’t tell me his name (he just sniffed and snuffled) so I gave him one.
Things were awkward, but eventually – it took quite awhile, actually – he was open to intelligent conversation.
WOW, did that guy catch on to stuff.
He didn’t know how to play chess, so I taught him… and then he beat me. He didn’t know how to read, so my wife showed him… and then he graduated from Berkeley. I shared my copy of a Tolstoy book with him… and now he speaks fluent Russian. We bought him a Little Spy Kit for $8… and now he’s an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. military.
When they hand you a snuffling small guy in a blanket like that, sure, he’ll look sleepy, but he’s totally sand-bagging you.
A friend of mine once told me, “You never know how selfish you are until you get married.” And he was right, but make no mistake: You learn it all over again when they hand you a guy like that.
I’m glad they did that. I’m glad I met that guy.
The first 24 years of my life were mostly me thinking about me. The second 24? Not so much.
The second half has been way, way better.