Cafe 42 Blog

About Face

I got her at the pound on my 26th birthday, a Shepherd-mix with a perfect black diamond dead in the center of her tan forehead. She was just seven weeks, not yet ready for adoption. I lied to get her out. They found her in the San Fernando hills and thought she was feral, but I told them she was mine and I’d lost her on a hike up near Mr. Wilson.

I named her Killer Dog Face. Killer as in cool. Dog because she was one. And Face after a term of endearment my mother used to call me. I figured she deserved three names, like most everyone else had, but I called her by her last name almost all the time.

My beautiful Face.

The only time I ever saw her be aggressive was the day I took her home from the pound. She was in a dirty concrete cage with a Golden puppy. I was thinking I wanted a Retriever this time. We’d had Shepherds growing up and I was hoping for a water dog. But Face wouldn’t let me touch that Golden. She practically bit its head off every time it tried to touch it through the gate.

She never grew into her paws and her ears. They remained exaggerated against her trim, medium frame and for almost ten years everyone thought she was a puppy. She acted like one too. She could pace me on my bike at 25 miles an hour. She could clear a five-foot wall or a six-foot wide river in one fluid motion. She accompanied me everywhere and she genuinely liked pretty much everybody. She learned to respond to my commands quickly, which were few and for her safety. I gave her the space she needed to play and the attention she required for her security. She helped me feel wanted, appreciated, safer, and not so alone. Forever forward, our relationship will remain one of the most stable, even exchanges of love and respect I will ever know.

I found out about the slip disks in her spine a few months after her 10th birthday. We had gone hiking up in the coastal mountains of Marin and she took off after something pacing us along a grove of redwoods. When I called for her she was way down in a gulch and I could tell she was struggling to make it back up the hill to me. The vet said she probably messed up her back jumping and that even though it was treatable with vitamin supplements, eventually she would get arthritis from the bad disks pinching her nerves. And though it took another five years, the vet turned out to be right.

I never expected to be faced with having to put her down. I assumed she’d go off a cliff chasing a squirrel, or miss when jumping over a river and I wouldn’t be around to save her. Everyone kept telling me it was time. At 15 she had hip problems, and walking problems, and was becoming incontinent. I felt sad for her a lot, watching her struggle to get up, and then fall within a few steps. And then I had my son. And Face wasn’t the baby anymore. And she was sad a lot too. Her health problems went from bad to worst, and picking up her poop all over the house where an infant crawled was more than just disgusting. It was a health hazard.

I’ve always thought that if I ever got cancer or some terminal disease I would choose to terminate my life before I was unable to do so. I didn’t want to be a burden, a useless piece of flesh wasting away, loved ones killing time at my bedside bemoaning my loss before I was gone as they watched me whither. Before I lost all my faculties I’d go in the garage and turn on the car, or find the right drugs to take me over the edge. It never dawned on me to think differently until I was faced with the responsibility of having to make that choice for a loved one.

Maybe life—living—was about existing to the bitter end and experiencing every moment we have.

I sat on the floor next to my dog wishing she could tell me what to do. She put her head in my lap then rolled onto her side for me to scratch her belly. Her pained expression turned to bliss as I gently stroked her, recalling some of our time together. Yellowstone; Breckenridge; Yosemite; the Grand Canyon; watching her tear after birds on the countless shorelines we’d strolled. We’d shared some grand adventures, but mostly quiet exchanges of affection, like the one we were sharing right then. Perhaps these moments—the times I stroked her during the day, or rubbed her belly late at night made living in pain worth it. Who was I to facilitate her death? I was suddenly torn by the choice to be made.

I had her put down a few months after her 16th birthday. She couldn’t walk. Her hind legs kept giving out. She was hardly eating, or even drinking much anymore. Treats she puked up or pooped out multiple times daily, messing her new confined space by the tiled entry. I made the call on a Saturday morning. A certified veterinarian came to my house with a truck, complete with metal table and loaded with medical equipment. After carrying her to the truck and placing her on the table, I held her head in my hands while the vet administered a tranquilizer.

“Thank you for sharing your life with me, for being my friend.” I whispered to her as the doctor removed the needle from her hind quarters. “I love you. I’ll think of you often. I’ll miss you terribly, my beauty. Goodbye, sweet Face.”

She lay on the cold metal table and stared at me until her eyes closed. I stroked her head one last time, lay my hand on the black fur diamond marking on her head and kissed her right between the eyes. I stood there crying as the doctor softly informed me that he would be taking her to his office where he would administer the fatal cocktail that would kill her. He assured me she would drift into blackness forever without waking. I didn’t ask what they’d do with her body. I didn’t want to know.

As I left the truck the doctor assured me I’d made the right decision, the ‘humane’ choice. I stood at the curb until the truck pulled away, held my arms clasps on top of my head to hold in my brain, hold my emotions in. My quiet street was deserted again and I looked around for the dog to come inside with me when it hit me Killer Dog Face was gone. My arms came down and with it any facade of composer. I sank to the sidewalk sobbing with the acute pain of loss.

Everyone told me I did the right thing, the “compassionate” thing. But I wonder. A part of me feels like I did the convenient thing, robbing Face of her moments.

The Good Life

37623-Cute-DogTo escape the bickering, and whining, and needs and desires and everyone’s demands, I took our dog for a walk on a quiet fire trail near our house. Bright and beautiful out, a sweet sea breeze came over the Oakland Hills with the afternoon sun. The mile and a half dirt path cut along the base of the foothills was mostly vacant, rarely used by even residents of the neighborhood, so I did not leash my dog for the walk.
 
I saw someone from the ridge while I waited for the dog to finish marking her territory in the open field atop the hill. A woman was coming towards us on the trail below, and I tensed as I scanned for the dog she was most likely walking, but saw none. Still, I called my 70 pound Shepherd-mix to me. My beautiful pound hound was passionately in love with people, but most didn’t appreciate her bounding up to greet them.
 
My dog came to me and I held her collar as we stood on the ridge and watched the woman trudge up the hill; her white hair looked almost like a silver helmet in the sunlight. She walked slowly, and carefully, and hunched. I made her out to be in her mid-70s. The dog started whining the moment she noticed the woman approaching, pulled to get away from me and go meet her potential new friend.
 
The woman was 30 feet away when she noticed us, looked up and stopped. I loudly assured her my dog was VERY friendly and loved everybody, that I held her securely, asserting there was no need to worry. The old woman looked at my dog wagging her tail wildly and whining incessantly, and she smiled. She confidently told me she loved dogs and then called mine to her. I let go of my dog’s collar and joined the woman on the path where she stood stroking my hound.
 
She gently ran her hand along the length of my dog’s back again and again while extolling the animal’s Sphinx-like appearance and friendly nature. Dog was mesmerized with her touch, as she was with just about anybody’s, but the old woman seemed to really enjoy the contact as well, her expression set in a soft, contented smile. She explained she’d had several dogs during the years she and her husband raised their three kids. The dogs had passed on, the kids had moved on, now with families of their own. Her husband died two years back and for the first time in all her life she was alone.
 
Her kids, even her grandkids kept telling her to get a dog. I chimed in with words of encouragement, told her about getting my dog at eight weeks old from a kill shelter in Manteca, and ranted about some great local shelters where she could rescue a dog.
 
My graceful hound took off after a squirrel, startling us both. The woman began brushing the dog hair off her pants, but a lot of short hairs were woven into the navy polyester and clung to her pant legs where the dog had leaned against her. “I’ve spent the last 50 years of my life attending to others needs—cooking, cleaning, and more cleaning, and taking care of everyone else. I told myself I deserved a break after my husband lost his three year battle with brain cancer. I would travel, get out to the movies and play canasta, live the good life.”
 
Dog came bouncing back, long tongue dangling from panting (grinning?) mouth. She came up to me first to get my pat then went back to the old woman for more strokes, which the woman gave willingly. “I’ve been on three cruises in the last two years. I play canasta twice a month, and see all the new movies I want.” Again she seemed…pacified, by patting the dog. “Turns out, the good life was when I was needed. Being counted on made me feel vital, and valued. Now, no matter what I do, I mostly just feel lonely.” She straightened and brushed her pant legs off again as my dog swaggered over to the tall grass and lay in it. “I think you all may be right and it’s time I got a dog.” She gave me a pleasant smile. “It’s been a pleasure chatting. Good day to you.” And she went on her way.
 
My dog trotted after her a few steps then came after me as I started home in the opposite direction. I stroked her as she walked by my side, glad to have her with me, counting on me, as my kids and my husband did, and probably would for many years to come. I imagined the old woman’s empty house and anticipated the tumult in mine.
 
And suddenly I felt very lucky indeed to be living the good life.

A True Email Tale

This morning I came into my office and there was an email from my husband. It was title, “The terminator is coming…” No joke. That was the exact SUBJECT LINE of his email.

I don’t care that another Terminator movie is coming out. I liked only the first and second Terminator movies, and thought the rest (and Arnold Schwarzenegger) were crap.

I didn’t open his email. I trashed it. I didn’t see the link he had inside it, but even if I did, I wouldn’t have paid attention it with his email subject line.

As I reviewed my emails, I watched the news, as I do every morning. The segment was on Boston Dynamics, a well-known robotics firm. They were showing off the agility their Atlas robot, doing a back flip! I was so blown away, it looked so real, like a person, I sent the video clip to my husband and kids. My subject line: “Totally cool robot moves!”

My husband sent me back an email, “I sent this video to you this morning.”

Hmm…he did? I didn’t see it.

“It was in the email about the terminator coming,” he wrote. “I guess I gave my email a bad title.”

No shit.

WORDS MATTER! Marketing/Copywriting must choose the RIGHT WORDS for the right audience to get response.

4 Simple Steps to Better Relationships

romancegifThe first year of my marriage didn’t go according to plan. The creative, smart, strong man I thought I married appeared as the jobless brat who refused to take on consulting while he toyed with his latest algorithm instead of engaging with me.

I’d waited 36 years to marry, ten years behind most everyone I knew. I’d waited to find a best friend to share life with. I had this idea of the man I wanted to be with since childhood. He’d be smart. Very smart. Massively creative, anything less would bore me. Financially stable, able to support a family with his skill set. And fun, of course, loved exploring new places. Cute was a must. I had to be physically attracted.

My husband had all these things and more, even after we married. And similar goals of having a family remained intact, but something changed between us. The best friend I wanted became the burden I carried the poorer we got. I couldn’t support us both on my salary alone. Ten months into our marriage we’d gone through most of my life savings. He had none, used the last of his for our honeymoon.

Working tirelessly at developing technology for profit, my dear husband’s response to going broke was making his already complex software even more complex. Marketing was a mystery and easily avoided by immerging himself in his muse. He seemed more intimate with his computer than with me. Many a night I had to please myself while he was downstairs making it with his 64-bit Alpha, coding.

There were many good days, long drives and hikes along the Pacific coastline, filled with conversation that flowed from one topic to another in a smooth, endless dialog. Those days bonded us, reminded me why we married, how much I enjoyed his mind, his perspectives, his passion. But things got harsher and more contentious. Eleven and a half months into marital bliss I lost our first baby in utero eight weeks into the pregnancy. And my husband engaged with his muse while I morned alone.

Time and again that first year of our marriage, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that considered divorce. Yet, he arranged to celebrate our first anniversary with a second wedding ceremony, in an empty courtroom in front of a judge who reiterated the vows which we repeated. Our first wedding was with a large crowd of family and friends and I’d always wanted an intimate affair.

The commitment was between me and my husband after all, not extended family. I was really that naive.

A chasm was growing between us. I’m sure he felt it too. He was just better at ignoring it, and me, which personally, I found infuriating. And I was so very lonely, and when prodded, my husband admitted he was too. We were stuck in a downward spiral which I couldn’t live with, in a relationship I didn’t want to abandon, but ultimately fear of missing my childbearing years starting from square one dating again compelled me to stick with my marriage.

I narrowed the root of our discord down to three possible scenarios:

  • He feed off other people’s pain, which would make him a psychopath.
  • He was indifferent to anyone’s needs but his own, which would make him worse than a psychopath.
  • He didn’t know any better.

It was improbable I’d married a psychopath. My husband was guilty of distance, but never violence. Indifference was impossible to work with. Trying to motivate people to care—that don’t, was a fool’s play. So I went with the third possibility. He didn’t know what was wrong between us, or how to fix it, so he froze, paralyzed by uncertainty.

My husband is a mathematician. Like the metal doors and iron bars that slammed shut behind Maxwell Smart as he walked down the hall to Control, my dear husband’s brain shut out chaos. He craved order, created it in tidy mathematical models with strict parameters. Feelings were messy, but exploring them was downright unnerving for him.

My dad once told me the difference between men and women lies in our nature. Men are self-oriented, internal. Women are maternal. Producing life grounds us outside ourselves. Therefore it is the woman’s role to coax the man outside himself, bring him to her—even their children.

It was my job to figure out a method, a series of clearly defined, linear steps we were both beholden to take that would make our marriage work. I felt certain once a path was apparent my husband would gladly take it with me, if for no other reason then to end the perpetual arguing. And though it took me several months, I eventually came up with an equation, and presented it on our vacation, because timing is everything.

We were climbing on the gigantic slabs of granite rocks and exploring the spectacular rugged shoreline of Acadia National Park in Maine. Humbled by the grandeur all around us, we connected in the shared moment. That’s when I unveiled my latest plan to improve our interaction.

  1. We are a team.
  2. What does my partner need/want?
  3. What do I need/want?
  4. Compromise.

Four simple steps, in that exact order.

First define the goal, I explained. The proceeding steps are the methodology to achieve it. To effectively manage discord we first must acknowledge we were not competing, we’re on the same side trying to work together to solve the issue at hand. Next, if I knew he considered my needs and desires before his own, and he knew I was looking out for him before myself, we could build a foundation of trust knowing we’d be there for each other. Finally, meeting close to the middle was mandatory. At least, understanding must be achieved before archiving an issue. At best, both parties get most of what they want. And as a sidebar—giving in didn’t mean losing. Concessions were more easily accessed by referring to step one.

My husband paced me across the granite slabs but with much more grace as we climbed the rocky shoreline. His slender form moved easily across the rock. He scrambled ahead to help me with a vertical climb, then reached down to give me a hand up. A moment later we stood on cliff’s edge overlooking the Atlantic. “Other than I think you’re hot, I married you because I knew you were smart. Anything less would have bored me.” He smiled at me then stared out at the ocean, big waves striking the shoreline sending plumes of mist around us.

We walked and talked and climbed for the next five hours, breaking down each of the four steps with specific case scenarios. After analyzing and massaging the data the rest of the weekend, and each step passing QA of course, it was agreed upon to give them a go.

For our summer vacation this year we took the kids to Acadia in Maine to share with them the park’s pristine beauty. My husband spoke of our earlier adventures there, and told the kids about our long talk. He quoted the four steps in order and explained why each was important, then pointed out how applying them to most interactions strengthened communication and improved relations. A big wave sprayed us all, and as we laughed with the mist twinkling around us I spied my husband staring out at the sea and flashed on our moment there so long ago, what he’d said, and smiled.

We will be celebrating our 15th anniversary this coming spring. And though it isn’t always bliss, our marriage has been a lot less rocky since we adopted the four steps on that Maine shoreline all those years ago.

The Future Out of Time

I was 9 years old the first time I saw the future before it happened.

It was a warm fall evening and dad and I sat on the flying bridge and sang, talked, and reveled in the beauty of the setting sun over the languid Pacific as we made our way to Catalina Island that Friday evening. My mother and sister were taking the public ferry over in the morning–mom too afraid to cross the channel in our 30-foot cabin cruiser at night.

There were no moorings available at Avalon, Catalina’s main harbor, which was always preferred for its calm sea protected by the rock breakwater. We had to pick up a mooring at St. Catherine’s, a small harbor on the north side of Avalon, exposed to the open ocean. Boats moored there continually pitched and tossed. Mom wasn’t going to be happy when she arrived with my sister on Saturday.

It was well after dark when dad got the boat in position and I grabbed the flag attached to the mooring line. I yanked the heavy rope out of the water, slipping and sliding on the deck as I secured it to our boat. By the time we laid anchor and tied the mooring lines it was almost 8:00 p.m. We caught the first water taxi to Avalon where we dined at the Flying Yachtsman, a favorite steak house for boater and locals. Just me and dad, captain and first mate, we ate mostly in silence, relishing the good meal after our long voyage.

We were almost through with dinner when a Coast Guard buddy of my father’s happened by and joined us for dessert. I was a little disappointed that my dad got involved in talking with his friend, Jim, and I was suddenly out of the loop. But I ate my apple crumb cake turning my head attentively to whomever was speaking, pretending to listen, though lost after the first few lines about horsepower in Jim’s new twin, fuel-injected engines.

After dinner, dad accepted Jim’s offer for a ride to our boat in his dinghy. I sat at the bow of the eight-foot skiff and dangled my hand over the side, letting my fingers comb the frothy waves created by the dinghy’s forward motion. My father sat in the center to keep the weight balanced, and Jim screamed over the engine as he drove. He described the damage from the Santa Ana winds that had blown through the island the previous week. Huge waves, some over 20 feet flooded storefronts. Several boats smashed into the shore when their mooring lines ripped from the ocean floor in St. Catherine’s.

And that’s when reality shifted. My awareness of where I was became distant, background to another. On some level I knew I was still on the skiff rounding the breakwater to the open sea on the way to our boat. But that’s not what I saw…

I wake on our boat in the middle of the night and lift my head to see the deep red light of the digital clock turn from 3:30 to 3:31. I glance over at my father sleeping next to me on the pull out bed in the main cabin. He’s turned away, snoring loudly. I slide the small curtain aside to glance out the window, and instead of the expected blackness I see a white sailboat six feet from our starboard side. It takes me a second to get that we’re about to crash into each other, suddenly aware that during the night our mooring line must have broken and we are free floating. Deck lights lit and mast lights on, every detail of the sailboat registers in my head–white, with light blue trim around the portholes and polished teak decks; identification numbers on the bow: K6749.

Then I was back in the dinghy, my finger’s freezing in the water. I snatched my hand out of the sea, tucked both hands between my legs and sat rigid as Jim pulled his dingy up to the stern of our boat. My father bid him goodbye with thanks as we boarded our vessel. Before my dad crossed the deck to the cabin I started ranting.

“Dad, our mooring line is going to break tonight and we’re going to hit a sailboat!”

“What are you talking about?” He stopped and turned to face me.

“I saw it. We’re going to smash into a sailboat at 3:30 in the morning. We have to move the boat now!”

“What do you mean, you ‘saw it?'”

I just stood there staring at him. I knew he wouldn’t believe me if I told him I had a vision. Hell, I didn’t believe me. But I knew what happened on that dinghy wasn’t a dream or fantasy. I knew I’d seen the future. I went back to proof by instance.

“Dad, our mooring line is going to break tonight and we’re going to hit a white sailboat with the call numbers K6749 if we don’t move the boat. So can we just move it, now please.”

Dad took the empirical position as always. “Do you see any white sailboats anywhere near us?”

By the moonlight the closest one I could see was a few rows up and far to the right. I couldn’t make out the call numbers, but I could see it had long narrow rectangular windows, not portholes. I shook my head.

“Okay. And hasn’t our boat been secured here all evening, the mooring clearly holding fast?”

“Yes.”

“And even if our mooring did break, we’d have the front anchor to secure the boat from drifting, isn’t that right?”

“Yeah. I guess.” I started to doubt my vision with his compiling logic.

“Well, what I’m guessing is when Jim told us that the mooring lines in St. Catherine’s harbor broke last week with the Santa Ana’s, it scared you. Did you hear him say that all the moorings were replaced with new ones?”

No. I’d missed that part because I was inside my head living an alternate reality at the time. “No. I didn’t hear him say that.”

“It’s late, sweetie,” my dad said, going into the cabin. “Let’s get ready for bed.”

—–

When I woke up in the middle of the night and the first thing I noticed was the digital clock turning from 3:30 to 3:31, I knew instantly that my earlier experience had not been a fantasy born of fear. I held my breath as I moved aside the curtain. I knew before actually seeing it that we were almost on top of a white sailboat. It had moored next to us while we slept.

I woke my father, screaming for him to get up as I scurried around him. He followed me out to the deck and saw that we were about to hit a sailboat, got the 12-foot push pole and wedged it between our two boats to avoid them smashing into each other while he put out the side bumpers. He told me to lift the front anchor and then yelled to the people on the sailboat to rouse them. As I moved along the narrow ledge around the side of our boat I noticed the call numbers K6749 printed on the sailboat’s bow.

The captain of the sailboat finally came on deck, got his push pole and kept our boats apart while my father ignited our diesel engines. Slipping and sliding, struggling to pull the heavy anchor out of the water onto the bow of our wet deck, I almost fell off the boat several times, which, to this day, over 40 years later, my father says was his greatest concern whenever he recites the incident, though he always adds “Something else happened weird that night…” but he can never recall what. I’ve never reminded him, but I’ll never forget.

**********

Similar experiences of ‘seeing’ the future occurred many times growing up, through my early 20’s. It came without warning, usually triggered by something someone said, and I would experience a reality shift in a flash. Sometimes, though rarely, it came in the form of a dream, but upon waking I knew it wasn’t a dream. Within hours the dream would play itself out in reality. Earthquakes were a big trigger. I would ‘see’ them before they occurred, know how strong they were going to be and the effects in their wake. Unusual events, generally with life threatening potential were also triggers, though rarely involving someone I knew. I saw car accidents, sometimes through the eyes of the drivers, hear about it the next day on the news, knowing what it was like in that car moments before, and then upon impact.

I don’t know where the visions came from. I knew they were glimpses of the future because they weren’t disjointed, like a dream or hallucination. They were sequential, tactile, visceral, a complete and instant emergence into another reality, separate from, yet similar to my experience of present time. I have not experienced one in over 20 years and I have no wish to. They were fundamentally frightening, and totally uncontrollable. The few times I told someone what I’d experienced before the event went down, no one ever believed me, until after. And I was never able to stop an event from occurring. Not once.

Seeing the future is pointless without the ability to change it.

(Of course, it can be argued I did change the future by alerting my father and thus avoiding a collision with the sailboat. But I never saw us hit each other in my vision. I ‘saw’ the exact same view out our boat window as the one in reality, at which time we were still six feet apart…)

Making a Difference

Typically on Sunday mornings my husband and I share articles from the New York Times. He’ll often read me pieces while I prepare breakfast or visa versa, and we’ll discuss the ones that pique our interest. The year end edition of the Sunday Magazine runs detailed obituaries on a handful of famous and infamous people who died that year. Though many are well known—actors, x-presidents and the like, some are more obscure, but they all share one thing in common. They all had [at least] 15 minutes of fame.

As my husband read on from person to person I began to feel more and more irritated. Where was the balance with the everyday hero—the dad who worked his life to support his family, or the career woman who slated her ambitions to be a mom? Their stories are equally interesting as some one hit wonder, or marginal actor. Even the most common among us had lives that mattered, that touched many, and deserve to be told.

On my mother’s death bed she asked me “Did I make a difference?” She stared at me with sunken eyes, her skeletal face practically begging me for an affirmative answer. And I gave her one. And, of course, it was true. She was my mom. She made a difference to me.

She turned me on to love, light, color, beauty, nature, music, art. She would often point out a vibrant flower, stop everything to view a sunset and be truly awestruck by its magnificence. She genuinely liked people. She was open to most all ideas as long as they weren’t filled with hate, or born of ignorance.

My mother was a humanitarian, and without prejudice, and she taught me to respect all things equally.

She was a wife for nearly 50 years. My father used to call her his ‘sunshine.’ Laughter and joy came easily to her. She exposed him to simple things—good talks during long walks, exploring new places, trying different foods. She sang all the time, had a beautiful voice that blended perfectly with my father’s melody.

My mom was a passionate and devoted teacher. She created a magnet ocean science program she taught to underprivileged and gifted kids that is still active today. I’d met several of her students, decades later while with my mom in the market or mall, who claimed they became oceanographers and biologists because of her influence. She loved kids. They were uncomplicated—what she pretended to be, even wanted to be, but wasn’t. She was childlike in many ways, always curious and loved learning.

As I sat on her bed and ran through her list of accomplishments, her expression became sadder and sadder, and my “turn that frown upside down” mother started to cry. She wanted to give so much more. She had so much more to give, but she realized, laying helpless in bed and gasping for every breath, her time had run out.

Two weeks later I stood over her grave and refused the dirt filled shovel the Rabbi handed to me. I knelt down and scooped a handful of moist, sweet earth from the freshly dug ground, smelled its musty richness, then let it fall off my hand and run through my fingers as I released it onto her casket. And then I silently thanked her for teaching me to recognize natural beauty and engage with it at every opportunity.

My mom died of cancer at 73. Over 100 people attended her funeral. Another hundred or more have contacted our family since her death to give their condolences—lives she touched, who will touch the lives of other, and so on.

Andy Warhol was wrong. Most of us live and die in obscurity.

But we make a difference.