It was a sunny day, so we sat outside while catching up. Andy is an engineer about my age, married with three kids. His wife, Amelia, is a third-grade teacher at a local elementary school. On weekends, Andy coaches his sons’ basketball/baseball/soccer teams.
I’ve known Andy since we were in our early 20s. I danced the night away (albeit poorly) at his wedding, and have watched, with admiration, the happiness that fills his everyday life. The combined incomes of a teacher and a midlevel engineer are not something Robin Leach would rave about, but they are happy. They have a nice home, drive safe vehicles, their children have college funds, and every year they take a terrific family vacation.
About halfway through our meal, another friend of mine walked down the sidewalk by our table. “Jake!” I called out as he passed. Jake looked up—obviously busy—but stopped to say hello. “Jake, good to see you,” I said. “This is my friend Andy. I’ve been meaning to introduce you. I bet your boys play soccer together—or at least against each other.” He chuckled, and we shared a short conversation before Jake reached his Aston Martin and peeled out down the Pacific Coast Highway.
“Man,” Andy muttered. “Imagine being that guy.”
I understood Andy’s envy. I
met Jake 20 years earlier. He works in finance and is one of the most talented businessmen I know. He built an empire and has the bottomless bank account and material checklist to prove it:
• Home on the Pacific Ocean, check.
• A flat on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, check.
• A private jet to take him between the two, check.
Jake’s reputation preceded him read more »