We got a call from our old's cool friend Ray Saturday morning to come meet for coffee – so we jumped over to Tusk & Cup in Wilton and met him and his friend Jon. I had brought along a sardine can One Up! as per usual, since it's my everyday carry, so Ray starts showing it to Jon. Normally, people listen politely for a few minutes, but aren't usually paying much attention. Jon was very interested, and started asking pointed questions. Before we knew it, we all three were going at it hammer and tongs.
There's always a moment where I can see in someone's eyes that they get the game – it's almost an audible clicking of gears. Jon got it right away, and Ray, who I thought was going to be the dumb one of the group without any words but plenty of excuses about why he wasn't dumb got it a few minutes later. To my shock – he ended up trouncing us – wow, impressive performance, Ray!
Anyway, come to find out Jon is the guitarist for Steely Dan, and he introduced One Up! to his bandmate Jim Beard, who's the keyboardist that night before a gig they were playing. I saw them later that night and gave them a couple to take on the road with them. We're with the band!
Talk about getting schooled.
Christian Schmidt was a high school word lover who got in touch with us years ago to say thank you for creating One Up! and explaining to us the hours and hours of fun the game had given him and his friends. Here's a picture of a jubilant Christian destroying someone's will to live back then.
So fast forward five or so years and I get an email from him last week, seemingly out of the blue: "Are you game?" is the ominous headline. Come to find out he's living in New Haven for a summer internship after just completing his freshman year at Princeton, and wants to play the 'creator'.
We agreed to meet for lunch, which we did. I taught him many lessons during our painful game, namely: disillusionment, disappointment, and disdain. All towards me of course. The kid was a whizz and a wonder.
Seriously, what a fine, thoughtful, confident, intellectually curious and funny young man. There's hope for humanity.
We had a great time, exchanged a lot of thoughts and love, and became friends and mutual-admirers. But the wise words of Montaigne kept coming to mind as I drove home:
"No man is a hero to his valet."
Or was it Napoleon?