Thursday, October 06, 2005

shoot the leader

I got an email from an old boyfriend the other day. I was very surprised to hear from G, as we didn't part ways amicably. Once at a party I accidentally introduced him as my insignificant other. You could say that G wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but it would be more accurate to say that he was dumber than a box of rocks. A former model, firefighter, ski instructor, ad agency executive and now stockbroker, G was easy on the eyes. My reasons for being with him were very shallow and superficial. Kinda like him.

During the dot-boom years one of my clients wanted access to movers and shakers in the Bay Area. I opened up my Rolodex to throw a huge shindig in San Francisco and G accepted my invitation to come to the party (I didn't think he'd take time away from work). The party was a big success, my client was ecstatic. There was a fairly influential guy from Los Angeles who flew up with his entourage. I'd never met him before, but we knew of each other and I was surprised he flew up for the party. This guy, let's call him Alan, now a friend, is a smart, charming, handsome ex-Navy SEAL. A real man's man. Chicks wanted to date him and guys wanted to be just like him.

I introduced G to Alan and they started talking about flying planes, playing rugby, shooting guns, competitive sailing and other alpha male activities. I thought they were getting along very well. I was glad I didn't have to babysit for him and that he found someone in the geeky crowd that didn't think him a complete idiot. At party's end, Alan invited us to join his group in carousing all night. I was all business back then so I declined, but we accepted his offer of a ride back to our hotel.

Alan and I waited in the limo while G went back to retrieve a forgotten coat. We had met only hours earlier, but as soon as G was out of earshot, Alan asked, "What are you doing with this guy?"

"I don't know what you mean by that," I replied. I couldn't be disloyal, even if the boyfriend was an idiot. Besides, G played the boyfriend role to perfection.

"Celia, I was in the Navy for over twenty years. One of the first things I learned was, upon entering a room - figure out who the most important person in the room is. Find out who the leader is and shoot that person. There will be confusion, people won't know who to follow and as a soldier you take advantage of that."

Tipsy from champagne, I slurred slightly, "So what's your point?"

Alan smiled, "I would probably have to shoot a hundred people before I'd shoot him."

"You wouldn't shoot him?" I asked. "And here I thought you two were getting along."

Then G returned with his coat and Alan and I were never alone to talk frankly again that night. Later in our hotel room, I came out of the bathroom to find G doing pushups and stretching. He tried to play it off, but it was obvious - he was anticipating some strenuous activity. If I had to pinpoint the beginning of the end for this guy, that night would probably be it.

I don't know if I'll be replying to G's recent email. I admit I'm curious to know if and how he's changed, it's been about five years since we last talked. Everything is so different now, a complete 180. Both Alan and I aren't the same people anymore - not as driven and a lot happier. Alan is retired and lives on his boat in Hawaii. He doesn't date bimbos anymore and I don't date himbos. But those are just the glaringly obvious changes, the most profound ones are harder to explain. I know Alan doesn't want to shoot the leader anymore, I'm just not sure what I want.


jim said...

the real question is how many people he would have had to shoot before he got to you.

Nanette said...

His line had me cracking up! :)