Dear Banana, My Beloved Miss Reno,
To be an entrepreneur is an exercise in loss.
In fact, life is an exercise in loss until you experience the ultimate loss of life and you die.
You are born with your youth and you lose it.
You are born with strength and vigor and you lose it.
You are born with capacities to hear with your ears and see with your eyes, eventually you lose that too.
You are born naked and alone in the world, you die alone and naked.
Steve Wynn, one of the world’s richest men and the inventor of the Luxury Las Vegas Casinos and “the new strip.” He is the owner of one of the world’s finest art collections worth $100’s of millions of dollars.
He stores the art in his Casinos for the public to see and his casinos pay the expensive insurance to keep his art safe. There is only one catch to Steve’s brilliant Art collecting plan – Steve is going blind.
What is the point of having the world’s greatest art collection if you can’t see it?
How bright is the colors of Steve’s art if all he can see is blackness?
Steve Wynn says: “We never own anything in this life, we only have temporary custody”
Steve is right, that temporary custody is fleeting.
When I was infatuated with you, I wanted you more than anything. You were a prized piece of art that I wished to possess.
But like the beautiful flower that you find alongside the road, you can admire it from a far, but if you reach for the flower and pluck it from the earth, it slowly begins to die.
I reached for you and in the process of reaching for you and plucking you from your roots, the purity and innocence of the love I had for you began to die.
One night I realized that you were unreasonably difficult and that the chances of you ever moving from Reno to Canada were slim.
I realized you weren’t coming, this was a long time before the end nearly a year and a half later, perhaps it was the halfway mark between when I met you and when I found out you had a secret long-term committed boyfriend the whole time (a 3 year span).
You were being difficult and so I typed a story into my cellphone and texted it to you:
The Buddha once held his favorite cup.
“This cup,” The Buddha said to his friend “does everything I wish it to do, it holds my drink, keeps it safe, and I love this cup – it is my favorite cup”
The Buddha’s friend listened to his words and agreed.
One day, the Buddha’s cup slipped from his hand and shattered upon the ground into a million tiny pieces.
The Buddha’s friend asked the Buddha “Are you not sad that your favorite cup has shattered?”
“That cup was never mine to begin with” Replied to the Buddha without a hint of sadness.
I told you this story over text message, from my phone to yours.
It struck you, I felt your sadness through the ether, we were connected by a thin thread from my heart to yours. I could feel you each day and you could feel me. Such is the special connection between two resonant spirits, perhaps soulmates, a very special thing in this lifetime indeed. We could have had such an amazing life together with a connection that strong, but it’s all gone now.
You texted back “Am I not yours?” and “That makes me sad”
The reality was, you had your long term boyfriend at home, he was a secret, and thus – you were never mine to begin with!
As I type these words, I cannot be sad, like the Buddha. You were my favorite cup, you held my drink, you did everything I wanted and it was wonderful for a time, but then you slipped from my hand and shattered – gone forever.
Like humpty dumpty who sat on the wall, you shattered into a million pieces and no one could put humpty dumpty back together again.
How can I be sad now? You were never mine. I only had temporary custody over you, like Steve Wynn and his marvelous art collection.
Today Steve can see the wonderful colors and shapes of his world class art…
Tomorrow it will only be color…
Finally, one day, everything will fade to black…
In life, one day we die and everything fades to black.
I have lost so much in my life by the young tender age of 31. At 31 I feel as though I am the youngest of the old people and the oldest of the young people, truly at a crossroads. I don’t seem to fit in with either the old or the young. It’s a unique time in life.
I have lost my close friends, multiple sets of good friends several times.
I have lost 4 long term girlfriends now.
I have lost 1 fiancé.
I have lost my parents and family to a divorce.
I have lost my best friend who I used to call and speak to every day.
I have lost my family home that I grew up in.
Late at night when I’m alone in my bed, I try not to think about the loss, if you do, you will go insane. Loneliness can be a real killer and it’s now a major threat to life in North America – right up there with heart disease.
I have lost in business too, 80% of the decisions I make are wrong, I make a mistake and I lose. Perhaps I’m a professional loser, but the 20% I win on, makes up for all of my losses and then some.
They say the formula for failure is to try to please everyone, that’s what you tried to do with me and your boyfriend Drake.
The formula for success is to take your current rate of failure and double it. That’s how I live, fail fast and fail cheap.
I remember begging to fail with you, begging you to release me and tell me it was never going to work. I begged for closure. You even said:
“You really want closure, don’t you?” when I offered to fly to Reno one last time while you were ghosting me out.
I don’t mind losing, I’m used to it.
Losing money, losing women, losing parents, losing loved ones.
One day my parents will die and they will be lost forever. I try to see them both each week separately because they are divorced and still don’t want to sit around the same table for supper, but I know that they could die at any time and that our time together is limited.
One day my 98-year-old grandma will die, bless her heart, when she goes it will be a celebration of life.
But the worst part with loss is losing a friend.
I miss calling you every day Miss Reno, my Banana.
I miss our 1-3 hour chats about nothing, the way you would giggle and I would tease you about some nonsense trick I was playing on you.
You would believe anything I said, you loved me and were gullible. I loved your innocence and lack of street smarts. It was a perfect counterbalance to my hardened view on life.
I miss the way we would sing (you weren’t a very good singer), and laugh, and dance and play.
I miss having someone to ask “how was your day?” and I could ask “how was your day?”
I miss the look of genuine excitement on your face when I would see you at my hotel doorstep for our secret weekend romances.
Your jaw would drop, you would smile from ear to ear and your eyes would light up like I was the only person you ever wanted to see. You hid the excitement from your family by living a double life.
I miss the way you would squeal “How are youuuuuuuu?” in the exact same tone as my mother would with exuberant energy and plastic enthusiasm.
I miss you most as my best friend.
The losing is ok, the rejection is ok, those are part of life, but the most painful part is losing you as a friend.
When I was young and in kindergarten, everyone was my friend. To get friends, all I had to do was lend out my felt-tip markers to the other kids and they loved me.
As I grew older to middle school I had less friends.
In high school, I had less friends.
In University, even less friends.
Enter the real world – almost no friends.
Everyone wants something from me now. Instead there are acquaintances, allies, co-workers, but no friends.
Just over a year ago I lost my best friend, the past weekend I found out you had a boyfriend named Drake over the past 3 years and I lost you as a friend too.
How could a friend lie for 3 years about something so important?
You weren’t really my friend and you certainly aren’t Drake’s friend either.
Losing you as a friend was the worst part.
I am a firm believer that men and women can’t be friends, someone always wants to have sex with someone. The penis and vagina just fundamentally can’t be friends.
We had love, we had sex, but we were great friends and even just hearing your breathing and silence on the phone, the black silence of nothing, but knowing you were there on the other end was comforting to me.
I live a life with very little comfort. I live in the hostile environment of business and entrepreneurship – everyday someone is trying to take me down: internet haters, rivals, employees, suppliers, contractors, customers, merchant accounts, banks, lenders, investors, the market, myself, the list goes on and on.
As I type this, I sent the police after an ex-employee who stole $800 of equipment from my office and I probably have to take another contractor who stole $2000 from me to small claims court. There is no end to the hostility in my chosen line of work and in my life.
In a hostile world, you were my comfort, the person I could call at the end of the day to settle and relax. To get refreshed and rejuvenated. I had any number of women I could call, who were probably waiting for me to call, who would love a call just to say “hey” and talk about nothing and settle into comfort, but I chose to dial you every day.
At the end of our relationship, during the last six months while you ghosted me, I called you every day hoping you would pick up. You didn’t reply. I left you voicemails, funny little messages, poems, all sorts of things. I still loved you, but you moved on and didn’t really tell me. You had your boyfriend, the same guy for 3 years and I guess you just closed up the gushing love wounds between us, cauterized your wounds with fire and moved on never looking back.
It hurt me to know that you told your work that you had crazy guys “stalking you”, you probably told other people in your life that I was a crazy stalker or something ridiculous like that. I get what you were doing though, you were covering your tracks, no one will ever believe a crazy stalker if I were to contact them. You had me compartmentalized well into a secret part of your life away from your friends and family. It hurt to be called a stalker though…
You ghosted me, ignored me, you would still text me sometimes, but only courteous things like “hey” and all I would read for a response to my text was “delivered”.
“Delivered” then nothing.
You didn’t “read” my texts anymore and they didn’t get marked as “read”.
I guess you switched the settings on your phone and turned off read receipts as you moved on.
I became your ghost, and you my friend, became a ghost to me. A ghost that would haunt me late at night, that I would think about and wonder about. I could still hear your voice in my head – a voice I loved, a voice that was music to me but was nothing, just a phantom.
Just “dust and air” like the Romans used to say:
“Dust and air.”
Eventually everything turns into “dust and air.”
I have lost so much, so much of what I thought I owned permanently has evaporated into dust and air. With that being said, I know I have much more to lose.
As a lover, losing you was hard… But it is much harder to lose you as a friend.
My someone who used to say “hey banana”
My someone who used to say “how are youuuuuu?”
My someone who used to say “I love you” and expect nothing in return.
Losing you as a friend was the hardest loss of all,
Your ghost of a friend,