One of the great things about having a child is realizing they have no idea what you’ve done in life. It’s as if they think you’ve never left the house, and if you did, you certainly didn’t meet anyone interesting.
Such was the case Sunday when my daughter was reading The Washington Post Magazine. The cover story was about a businessman and gay activist by the name of Mitchell Gold, and I mentioned I’d like to read it to see how he was doing.
“You KNOW him?” my daughter asked, as if I had just grown a second head.
“Of course I do,” I replied, as apparently my daughter didn’t notice I had left the house for 25 years and worked in the furniture industry, allowing me to meet a lot of interesting people, including one Mitchell Gold. “He and I never got along, but he’s a good guy. He even built a piece of furniture for us that he customized just for you.”
Since she was 5 at the time, I suppose it was fair she didn’t totally recall all of that. So I began telling her the story of Mitchell Gold, and it immediately bought to mind how different times are from way back then. These days, you couldn’t disagree with someone the way Mitchell and I did back in 2000 and survive.
That’s because according to the rules of social media today, it seems that if you disagree with someone, they have to die. You have to destroy them. There is no middle ground. They need to lose their job, lose their career and be branded with a scarlet letter if you have a different view. Disliking them and respecting them at the same time is not allowed.
Mitchell and I managed to do both. It’s not that we didn’t care for each other because of politics, issues or anything like that. We were just two hard-headed people who liked doing things our own way. When I was named to be president of a company in Los Angeles called The Wexford Collection (a division of Rowe Furniture) Mitchell was already an established star at a sister company that bore his name. It seemed like I had just landed at LAX when the emails from him started, suggesting how I should run the company. Not surprisingly, we immediately clashed....