He was a gangly lad.
A bright boy.
He learned the value of work at an early age.
An alcoholic father was the impetus for his success.
The boy did adequately in school.
But what he really loved was work.
He always had a couple of jobs.
He saved most of what he made.
While other children frittered away their time,
this young man made plans.
He was fueled by a growing hatred.
The boy was sickened and embarassed by his drunken father.
He was sick of dragging him out of bar rooms.
"Home to dinner, eh pops?", he said sarcastically.
These chores he did for the benefit of his doting mother.
They twisted his mind.
They blackened his heart.
He found no use for college.
Instead, he sat at the feet of wealthy men.
He listened to their wisdom.
They mentored him about finance, investments, and the stock market.
They liked his zeal.
Many of them had lazy sons.
They voted the hard-working lad into their special clubs.
The young man ended up wearing expensive cashmere overcoats.
He bought the finest Homburg hats.
He drove fine cars.
He bedded beautiful women.
He had arrived.
He took good care of his mother and his siblings.
He never spoke to his father.
He hung onto his hatred for the man.
After many years, he confided in me.
He was elderly now.
He still hated his father.
I told him he would never have peace until he let his anger go.
The drunken old man was dead for over forty-years.
I told him it was insane to keep the rage burning.
It was as putrid as the cancer that was consuming him.
Right before the end of his life he told me,
"I look at my mansion and all the beautiful things that I have acquired,
but do you know what?...They mean nothing to me anymore."
Out of all the wise things I learned from this bright man,
over a period of fifty-some odd years,
this sentence had the most meaning for me.