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A little less conversation…

… a little more action, please. Mijn oom merkte op: joh, je schrijft steeds minder. Het dringt nu later op de avond pas tot me door dat dat is omdat tikken ongemakkelijk is. De bewegingen zitten niet meer in mijn ringvinger dus moet ik tikken met bewegingen van mijn arm. Dat is minder nauwkeurig en een stuk langzamer. Ik haat langzaam.

 

I thought I'd like to share with you a few conversational moments of the past weeks. Switching to English, I don't want to be in that position of Tom Waits, who has to apologize when he comes up to the stage, because it's been so long since he was here. Asshole, really, WHY did you have to give that show in Amsterdam in the EXACT SAME WEEK that my sister was getting married in New Zealand? So envious of Henrik, who got to go, was I, that when he first texted me "we didn't get the tickets" I could hardly not jump around and dance, until I got the text two minutes later that he DID get the tickets. OK. It's time to be honest. I _do_ have a bucket list. But it always contains just one item. So the next best thing in life after checking off "becoming a dad" is: seeing Tom Waits live. (for those of you appalled at the notion that I'm really THAT superficial that I don't say "a second child" or something, a) pretend that I'm being sarcastic ii) it's tom. waits. we're talking about here 3) have you met me?)

 

I'm not getting anywhere with these conversations. I'll do the sad ones up front and work my way towards merrier stuff.

 

Overheard in the hospital. Patient across from me. Neurologist visits and pulls the "privacy screen" around the bed. Privacy from the deaf because the rest of us hear everything. She wants him to consider again about the feeding tube. He says again: I don't want it. I'll never want it. My sister died of the same thing. I never want to talk about it again. The doctor has to make sure that he understands the decision that is taken: if you don't say yes now, later on there might not be an opportunity anymore. He understands. Now please go away.

 

The story of his sister is true. She had ALS but died of complications of the surgery for the feeding tube. This guy isn't dumb nor is he fatalistic. What's he thinking? What are you thinking? Walk a mile in HIS shoes if you will. Or in the shoes of that doctor.

 

OK, that was a nice warmer-upper, wasn't it? Let's skip to the opposite end of the spectrum before I depress you.

 

Setting: a 200 year old Austrian chalet somewhere in France. Slightly hung over from the wine from the night before. It's a cozy and nice time that we're having and I think if you add up the day rate of each of the 8 individuals in this room we are supposedly worth a small Carribean island in fees. Good thing we are drinking _expensive_ wine, then. I enter back into the room. Ronald and me look at each other and I decide to give the feedback.

"Well – there's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that our plan holds true. The guy we just spoke on the phone, my friend-connection from the RSM, he works for a company that does just exactly what we are trying to do, only with a bigger focus – all of life sciences instead of one disease. And they've already got 800mln, we have zero today. He thinks our plan so far is good. Good enough, even, to offer to put it under his umbrella. His brand and his infrastructure. That saves us a good year in having to wrestle through the forest of regulations and trying to hire people who are as rare as a sparkling unicorn. So that's the good news. The bad news is that they think the market is a bit tough. He and his 14 colleagues just spent two years raising new funds. They've been doing this for 23 years and we for 0. And they raised 85mln in 2 years. And I think: And our target is more than that, and we have to do it quicker, because I'm going to have a baby and we have to actually be done before that. What the fuck are we thinking?". RJ doesn't speak much. He prefers a little less conversation, a little more action please. But upon hearing that the guy who's been doing for a living for 2/3rds of his life in the field that we are newly entering, upon hearing that that guy thinks it's pretty much impossible, he lits up. RJ becomes alive with a glint for the first time in hours. "Ah! THAT is usually where I wake up! When someone says it's impossible I get warm!" – and I realise this man and me have even more in common than I thought. That was supposed to be my line! Imagine the voiceover: They said it couldn't be done….. I can't hold my laughter in and want to high-five him.

 

Allright. Now one a bit in the middle.

 

Setting: A Blue BMW. I didn't count how fast we go because uncle Garmt never speeds anymore since that man with the beard asked about the grass in New Zealand. He tries to make noise with the engine but I can tell he is cheating. It's OK. I point out: Look! A big star! The only star in the whole sky tonight! Look! Uncle Garmt looks and pulls over the car. He points it out. Look! Other stars there! That is a big one! Look. Wow! Those are big stars. But we agree- that first one is the biggest. That has to be the star of Jesus! Uncle Garmt behaves like he wants to ask something but is not sure how to do so because he thinks I am a child. I put him at ease and explain him patiently: If you die God makes you a star and if you were very good you get a bigger one. And Jesus was very good all the way 'till he was killed by that evil king. So god made him the brightest star probably.

 

Silence. Uncle Garmt is pensive for a second. A little less conversation, a little more action please. Uncle Garmt musters up the courage and asks: Will I get a star? Doh. I say "FOR SURE that you get a star". Really? he says, and before he has to degrade himself by asking I say "A reasonably big (or was it beautiful? what's better – a big star of a beautiful star?) one, too". He's happy to hear that, even I can tell, so I explain: "Yes. You always tried your best and you worked so hard. So hard for this car. You must have had to work an entire year for every day to earn this car".

He must be confused now – hoarse throat and at the same time he's grinning. Uncle Garmt. Shall we go now?