DATE OF RECORD

In the run up to August 18th, 1986, the date of record for me, a typical training session that summer with my replacement Paul Campo went down something like this:

“OK, Paul, this is the computer inventory of all trademarks owned by The Wellcome Foundation.”  I put my hand down softly on a large green binder by my side.  Inside were hundreds of pages of green tractor-feed paper held together with white plastic paper ties.

Getting very little on the way of a reaction, I flipped through the pages making a ruffling noise.  “You see, the marks are organized by country.”

Again, no reaction.

Continuing to flip through the sheets, I stopped at one page.  “Here, this page is for Sudan.”

Paul looked lively all of a sudden.  “Dan who?” he asked.  “And I don’t know anyone named Sue,” he added.  A real comedian.

THE LIZARD

Monday, August 18th, year of Our Lord 1986.  That was to be my first day at Columbia Business School’s two week orientation for the incoming class of 1988.  As mentioned last week in “MURPHY AND HIS LAW,” it was to feature a boot camp for Mathematics and gettin’ jiggy with the Hewlett Packard 12c financial calculator.  Although that was the date of reference for me throughout the second quarter of the year – after I was notified of my acceptance in April – I suppose from my point of view the real date of reference for me was Friday, August 15th.  That was to be my last date at Olcott International.

I told Dad over lunch of my acceptance at Columbia.  He took the news quietly.  Why shouldn’t he?  After all, he had asked me to leave the company that past December.  We both agreed that it was important to find a replacement for me to insure a smooth transition.

For this task, Dad avoided placing a Help Wanted ad in the Hudson Dispatch or Bergen Record newspapers, his usual sources for potential office talent.  This time, he went to the Job Placement office of the US Trademark Association and found someone who, like Bob Gerhardt, had his favorite qualification – an actual Juris Doctor degree!  (Something I never had nor lusted after).