On June 21, 2000 I was walking home from work around 6PM. As was my habit, I called my dad and we had a chat as I walked home. He asked how my day was. At the time I was working at a very fun online hip hop company. Very fun except that we realized we had no business model and no chance of survival on our own, so one year after graduating from business school I was likely to be out of a job. I had more than $90,000 of graduate school debt so living without a job in NYC was not a fun prospect.
I was stressed…STRESSED! What was I going to do? The bubble was bursting. My world was going up in flames.
So that is what I told my dad. At 28 years old with a degree from Harvard Business School, my life was in tatters and ruins.
The I asked "So, how are you?" and he said:
"Today was a good day. I took a walk around the block."
He had cancer at the time. Treatment was terrible and going for a walk was a big deal. How's that for perspective.
We got off the phone and I got to thinking. Whenever people asked how my dad was doing they always asked "How is his spirit?" I suppose this is a relevant question for a priest but you hear it all the time. People are sick. How are their spirits? Spirit matters. Spirit keeps people positive. Spirit keeps you moving in the right direction. Don't forget about your spirit.
At the time, coincidentally (but maybe not really coincindentally…), I was standing in front of the Rising Dragon tattoo parlor on 23rd street. So I walked in and said "I would like a tattoo that says spirit."
So right then and there, I branded myself for good with a symbol to always remember my inner being. Ironically, I forget it's there at times (back right hip). My daughter asked me about it the other day. And after telling her "No way on earth will you even CONSIDER getting one before you are 21!" I told her I got it because my dad told me to.
He saw it a few weeks after I got it, and after the shock and awe wore off, he decided he kind of liked it.
I am looking for a clever, punchy last sentence here but am coming up short. What I will say is, that was $55.00 well spent.