The moment sneaked up on me. Blithely, I was talking with my companion, not paying attention, and we paused, trying to decide where to go. My eyes saw the shape of the word, a half-impression blurred in the general chaos of the museum, and I felt the flutter of my heart. I focused. The word appeared in bas relief. It was the only thing I saw, the only thing that existed in that moment. Space narrowed to the space it occupied: Enron.
Perhaps because it was so out of context, the poignancy of the moment struck me in the solar plexus. Small bright tears appeared in the corner of my eyes. It’s all gone now. That was the thought: it’s all gone now. Yet these little words which jump out of the world and attack me while on a casual stroll through the museum still persist, like lover’s words.
I took a picture. Not just to remember the plaque, but to remember how I felt in that moment. It occurs to me now as I look at it again, maybe not everything is gone. The people are still alive. Most of them – no thanks to the Enron Task Force. But the body of knowledge exists, the intelligence survives. Perhaps there is hope.
Sometimes, my obsessions take me places I wouldn’t ordinarily go:
This is Enron 101. I think everyone who is interested in the case starts with this stuff. The key is to remember it’s all lies.
I actually took a picture of the teevee on March 19, 2007. It was the day the courts ruled that investment banks (ie Citi and Merrill Lynch) could not be sued for their involvement in Enron’s bankruptcy.
I had come to Houston to talk to an Enron guy. We were sitting outside at this wine bar, smoking and drinking wine, and this homeless guy wandered up to us. The guy I was with gave him twenty dollars and then said, “That’s a nice hat you got there.”
I was dying at the irony. Or synchronicity. Or whatever it was that brought this guy with the Enron hat over to us at the exact moment I was getting the inside scoop on the company.
We asked where he got the hat. “There’s a whole dumpster full of Enron hats and t-shirts over there,” he said. “I think they’re all gone now but you can have this one if you really like it.” We declined, but I couldn’t resist snapping a picture.
There is something about my old journals and calendars that acts like crack on my psyche. If I find one while going about the ordinary business of my day, I must stop everything I’m doing, sit down, and re-read the events of my life. This evening while searching for a piece of paper I think I’ve lost forever, I found my old binders. I opened to a random page – and then flipped forward to this. I actually laughed out loud when I saw it.
I don’t know what “long term capital and thinking” means, but I was apparently very serious about it.