Showering on Wall Street
Up until I was about 14 years old, we took family road trips around the US every summer. Our trips involved my two parents, four bothers, and me packing into a VW Van stacked full of food and camping supplies. As we got older we upgraded to an RV with built in kitchen, bathroom, and shower. One of our first trips in our new RV was to visit family along the East Coast with a swing through NYC.
Having never visited NYC, I only knew this larger than life, big shot city through its portrayal in movies and T.V. As a farm boy, actually visiting there made nervous.
With our RV, my dad rolled across the Brooklyn Bridge, through Chinatown, and found a place to park downtown on Wall Street. To me, Wall Street was the pinnacle of New York and all the power it held. I remember feeling so small and out of place as my dad parked our RV next to two black town cars that I’m sure were there to pick up some multimillionaire CEOs. Something inside me wished he’d parked outside the city and we walked in so not to disturb the power flow of the city.
Instead, my dad got out of the driver’s seat with an ear-to-ear smile on his face and proclaimed he was going to take a shower on Wall Street. At the time I remember wanting to hide under a blanket to avoid the embarrassment from the CEOs seeing my dad shower on their street as they walked by. But he showered, no one saw, and we went on with the rest of the day.
His shower on Wall Street became an epic story to tell among our family and friends. In fact, my dad’s whole life is filled with similar adventures that didn’t happen by accident, he made them happen.
I saw Wall Street like everyone else saw Wall Street, and in doing so, my experience of Wall Street was just like everyone else. On the other hand, my dad saw Wall Street in a totally different way, and in doing so, had an amazing experience that I’m retelling 18 years later.
If you know me, you know I am always fresh off of some new adventure that most people don’t believe actually happened. What you are really seeing is my dad’s approach to life living on through me.
Since moving to NYC a year ago, I don’t get to see my dad as much as I did when we were in Chicago, but no matter where I’m geographically at, I take with me many of his life lessons. His lessons, however, don’t come as lectures or rules, but rather in the way he lives his life. He won’t tell you what the lesson is, but rather patiently wait for you to discover it knowing that the teacher doesn’t show up until the student is ready. Sometimes I’d understand the lesson within a couple hours and other times it wouldn’t click till years later. It took me until college to understand what he taught me on Wall Street and I’m forever thankful.