Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Post Cards from the Essex

When I met my wife for dinner yesterday evening she pulled this post card out of her purse and said: "This came in the mail today. Who is it from and what does it mean?"

Here is the story behind the card. First of all the sender was George Kassabgi, a former boss, we both still work for the same company (BEA), he just is now in a different office. When he was in San Francisco his shelves were lined with management books, I think I counted at least 10 Drucker alone. I often chided him to broaden his reading material, he always responded "I don't read fiction." When I heard from him that he was reading biographies, I began to feed him book reccomendations that fit his no-fiction criterea. One such book was In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. The Essex was a whaler that sailed in the early 1800s out of Nantucket Island, a whaling community off the coast of Massachussets. The story in summary is that of the sinking of the Essex by a 80 foot sperm whale and the subsequent tale of the crew's survival. This tale was inspiration for Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

I YM'd with George after receiving the card and he told me that the story of how he got my address while on the Island:

GK: it was odd, we made plans (Georgie and I) to go to Nantucket, for just the heck of it, spur of the moment, and the Essex just hit me at a certain moment as we were walking around. It was a strange connection. The book itself wasn't on my mind, nor was I reminded of anything whaling oriented.
GK: So I thought the postcard was warranted, as a thanks for that book reference.
GK: in fact, in a metaphysical sense (apologies up front for such an obtuse view), the notion of sending a postcard to California, referring to the Essex, centuries after the ship's existance, is interesting in of itself.
GK: the story of how I got your address, while on the island, (I obviously didn't have it with me) is a good one. I was looking for an internet cafe and found one but it was packed (I was amazed to find one at all).
GK: so georgie and I were walking around these cobblestone roads (off main st.) and we see these guy with a laptop sitting on a st. bench. Turns out he was online using some wireless signal from a nearby business, turns out he is a waiter on the island for the summer and does this regularly on his spare time!
GK: So I offered him a coffee ($2.50) in exchange for "a Yahoo! People looking of a man in California".

Its not often I get actual personal physical mail anymore these days, and to get one that was a ridler as well was nice. Strangely to now scan it and put it on line is yet another odd twist to the whole thing I suppose.

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