A while back I had the opportunity to attend my brother’s retirement party as he finished his Army career — full-circle from where it started, in Williamsburg, Virginia. I was so proud of him that he had served his country for so many years, having earned the rank of full Colonel.
But what does a man do, when he finishes one career, but is still young and healthy and full of drive and purpose? He starts another career, that’s what he does. So my brother went back to school.
My brother and his beloved bride, at Pioneer Square, in Portland. Mark’s forward momentum got the better of him, in this photo.
First, he completed an Executive MBA program, and then he jumped into a Masters in Accounting. Few of us suspected, however, that this was all a clever blind. Unbeknownst to us all, he has craftily embarked on a new career as an interior decorator.
I got a strange call from my brother a few weeks back.
Mind you, the call wasn’t as strange as this strange piece of kitchen decor. We think this was one of Gandalf’s early attempts at an out-of-scale wizard’s staff.
“Hey, Tim, Liz and I are coming out to the West Coast for our 30th Anniversary trip — we’re thinking of renting a house in the Portland area. Would you like to come down and spend a weekend with us?”
Naturally, I jumped at the chance, but I was a bit suspicious. Why would my brother want me and Kathy around for his 30th anniversary? Surely he and Liz would rather spend time with each other? I sensed an ulterior motive; warning bells rang.
Kathy and I managed a visit to Powell’s Book store, so the weekend was at least partially redeemed, whatever surprises my brother had for us.
We drove down to Portland and found the house, and I immediately realized why we had been so ‘casually’ invited. My brother has obviously been moonlighting as an Interior Decorator, and he wanted to showcase his latest client’s home.
Apparently Mark likes crude woodcarving ‘art’ — I’m thinking he maybe carved this piece himself.
He blathered on about Accounting for an hour or so to put us off the scent, but I saw right through his clumsy attempts to conceal his real purpose.
“So, you see, when you subtract liabilities from assets, whatever is left over is the value of the company,” Mark droned. “Say, speaking of value, what do you think of that cool wall hanging over there?”
I was afraid to look inside this weird lacquered hanging box, but I half expected to see my brother’s initials carved in a corner, somewhere.
I don’t know how to tell him this — but I think he should have stuck with his ‘cover’. After all, a Masters in Accounting program is a perfectly good start to a legitimate career, even if it isn’t as glamorous as being a computer programmer. Maybe he could grow a beard, or something.
This one looks like someone randomly threw spaghetti, paint and plaster onto a canvas. Maybe Mark felt like having some pasta, that day?
I hate to be the one to hurt Mark’s feelings — he is very sensitive, as ‘artistic’ people often are. Of course, I know that he deeply respects my credentials as an art critic, so I need to be careful not to crush his dream. Maybe he’ll read this blog post and get a hint … but I’m not very hopeful. Subtlety has never been our family watchword.
Project 365, Day 66