When my sister and I were little, our Dad would challenge us with riddles and word games. I mentioned three in my eulogy for Dad:
1. Imagine a two-volume dictionary sitting on a shelf. Each volume has 500 pages. A bookworm is on the first page of letter A. It wants to eat its way to the end of letter Z as fast as possible. How many pages does it need to eat?
2. Should you walk to work or bring your lunch?
3. Is it warmer in the summer or in England?
Dad used the first to show the perils of leaping to conclusions. The second introduced basic economics. As far as I can tell, the third is just amusing; if you see a deeper meaning, please let me know.
My dad died unexpectedly last Friday. He lived a remarkable, generous life. Obituaries in Bloomberg, NYT, and WSJ give a taste of his success in business, charity, and the arts. He was truly a self-made man.
Some of my favorite memories, however, are of my dad’s rare failures. His unsuccessful effort to hurdle my sister’s cello during a game of chase. That time we got ejected from Yankee Stadium for throwing paper airplanes. The one and only set of tennis I ever won from him.
It’s difficult to believe he’s gone. Dad brought such vigor and energy to life. Indeed, it was only a few months ago that we rocked to Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden. You should have heard him sing “Movin’ Out”. If I make it to my 80s, I’d be thrilled to have half his energy and sharpness.
Health issues brought me to New York City often this past year. They proved a blessing in disguise. My sister Jennifer and I got to see much more of Dad than usual. We hung out in his office, grabbed a few dinners, and celebrated both Dad’s and my birthdays. We feel fortunate we had that time together.
Dad was an inspiration and a great deal of fun. It’s an honor to bear his name.
P.S. See some of his favorite brain teasers here.