Don Graham is a Punk
- Posted by James Altucher
Don Graham is a punk. I don’t care if he’s the publisher of the Washington Post. We’ve never spoken to each other. Ever. But we’ve now played hundreds of games of Word Twist on Facebook and I can’t seem to pull ahead of him. Heck, he might even be beating me. That’s intolerable. I know he hasn’t had an easy life. And he’s worked hard. But he’s publisher of the Washington Post and I’m a nobody. I’m well read. I’m great at Scrabble. Can’t I at least beat him at Word Twist? Its just a dumb game on Facebook.
You get seven letters and two minutes to organize them into as many words as possible. Then there’s between 5 and 10 rounds per game. Sometimes Don wins, sometimes I win. Lately I think Don’s been winning. Sometimes I go on huge stretches of winning where I even think I might be hurting his feelings by winning so much. I get afraid he’ll stop playing me since among my 1000 facebook friends I don’t have much competition on Word Twist. Sometimes he goes on huge stretches where I start to get worried he thinks I’m stupid.
Like how did he take G G I I N R T and come up with GIRTING? What does that even mean?
Hold on a sec. I’m going to look it up…
“To secure with a girth” or “to measure with a girth”
Now, here’s how dumb I am. How can I even call myself a writer. Whats a “girth”. How does one measure with such a thing. Is it like a ruler?
One second a again while I look it up…
“3. A strap encircling an animal’s body in order to secure a load or saddle on its back; a cinch.”
What happens? Do Washington Post employees bring animals into Don Graham’s office, he sighs, gets up because he’s the guy who’s signed up for this task, and he puts some strap (a “girth”) around the animal and says, “ok, its 73 inches” and then they say, “great. Thanks Don.” And then they take the animal out. And then he gets back to his desk to finish his game with me? He has 32 seconds left. Hmmm, GG I I N RT. GIRTING!
Apparently the world “girdle” comes from girth which comes from (Norse Old Middle English) “gjordjh”
Facebook is a horrible killer of time. It bludgeons time and leaves it bleeding out in the alley. Facebook takes a girth and strangles time by the neck until there’s no air left. That’s not what a girth was intended for but Facebook doesn’t care.
I read once about Allen & Company’s big Sun Valley conference. It was happening right then while I was reading about it. Reporters are cordoned off from a distance but they still take their photos and send them out to gawker.com where little guys like me can read about it. Big deals get done here. Time Warner buys AOL here. Disney buys Pixar. There’s pictures of Sergey Brin and Jerry Yang at Sun Valley. Everything is forgiven. We didn’t mean to steal your patents. We’re sorry we didn’t buy you. Maybe next year. Barry Diller is sometimes popular there. Sometimes he’s a no-show.
I saw a photo of Don Graham, Warren Buffett, and Rupert Murdoch all hanging out at Sun Valley that very morning.
But when I get back on Facebook, I see how in the past hour Don Graham has turned A A A C L M N and turned it into ALMANAC. And it took him 14 seconds (word twist has excellent post-mortem statistics).
In other words, rather than merging the Washington Post with the Wall St Journal so he could focus on his true profit center (Stanley Kaplan, which the Washington Post presciently bought right when the newspaper industry was dying and college tuitions were skyrocketing), he rushed back to his little hotel room in Sun Valley, turned on Facebook, and crushed me with “ALMANAC”.
My top word on that particular round? ANAL . I’m not good with “-AC” endings. Give me an “-ED”. Or an “-ING” unless its “GIRTING.
What happens? Does he practice his vocabulary on those Stanley Kaplan tests? Does Stanley call him up and say, “we’ve got a new one for you today, Don. I don’t think you’re going to ace it.” But Don takes out his number two pencil, sharpens it, and gets to work. Until the VP of Sales comes in with a camel and Don needs to take out his girth and measure it
I’m worried now Don Graham will read this and stop playing me in Word Twist. We’ve never spoken. I don’t know the man. We’ve just been playing Word Twist for two years. And if he doesn’t want to play me anymore then what else can I do to procrastinate while I’m trying to write. Its Easter Sunday this morning. Claudia and I walked out to the river but it was so foggy we could hear the train on the other side of the river but we couldn’t see it. It was totally white. We pretended we were at the edge of all existence.
I miss my kids this morning. They are off celebrating Easter somewhere. I don’t even know what that means. They are probably in their prettiest dresses. I guess they pray and then eat chocolate somewhere. I hate holidays. Now Claudia wants me to do yoga with her. But I can’t. I just made two seven letter words out of A C I N O T U. Its Don’s turn at Word Twist and I’m waiting for him.
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