I've known Derek since I was about 5 years old. Growing up involved all the usual storied of little league baseball, pool parties in the summer, and ski club in the winter. I would like to think we were always a dynamic team- I am not exactly sure what my role was, but Derek was certainly the gregarious actor, he seemed to always be putting on some sort of show even if it was just in everyday interactions. I suppose perhaps that's why in elementary school when I wrote up a comedy skit for the talent show in front of the whole school called "The Purple Hatted Chef" lampooning the popular celebrity chefs, Derek was my logical partner in Crime.
Needless to say, I did not go on to do much acting. My comedy writing experience has been limited to making fun of teachers and people I don't like since that point on, although Derek went on to act in high school and college.
It seems ironic to me that Derek has told me that one of the reasons he applied to law school was that over Christmas break of our senior year of college I talked him into it. I did not apply to law school after college. I was uninterested and I had done poorly on the LSATs when I took them in college. The next year Derek and I both were in Suffield. I was looking for any work I could find and so was Derek, though he was starting law school at UConn at night. After not very long Derek found a job working in public relations for the Jewish Federation of greater Hartford, an ironic job for an irish catholic boy, and I found a job doing customer service in the claims department for GE's insurance business in Hartford.
I remember Derek and I emailing every day while at work. About all sorts of things- politics, work, being ridiculously poor, women (or our lack thereof). In many ways those emails provided the basis for decisions that would shape the next few years of my life. I decided I could not stand my job at GE. Though talking to angry strangers on the phone thickened my skin a bit, I decided I did not like telling cancer patients we couldn't pay their disability because it was a pre-existing condition. If anything I felt I was fairly good at writing and understanding issues- if Derek (and Natalie) could work and go to law school nights, so could I.
In the end, I did not get my first choice, which was to go to UConn, but as you know I did get into law school. Derek ended up working on the Lieberman campaign and I ended up working for Fidelity for much of my first year of law school and we often griped to each other about the lousy situation of working and trying to go to school as well.
It seems almost surreal to me that things have come so far. Today I am only a month or so away from starting my last year of law school and it only feels like I was starting it yesterday (thank god I am not though). Last night Derek was in Providence and we went and had a beer and watched part of the All star game. As Derek outlined some of the technical aspects of setting up his exploratory committee for running for state representative and I asked questions and made one or two comments, it seemed crazy that this was finally happening.
I guess it seems mundane to many people. I suppose most kids dream about becoming rockstars, being in a band, or playing professional sports. I guess a common bond for Derek and I and a few of my other close friends is that our dreams tended to be more of the variety of working in politics one day, being a judge or a senator. Honestly, I still feel more attraction to doing something like this than being a Bono wannabee premadonna anyday. In no small part I think it is because as much as their is an aspect of ambition to these dreams, I also truly believe that what we have in mind is to make the world a truly better place.
Derek and I have long fought about politics, but essentially I think we have the same goal- which is to make our world a better place. What's exciting to me is that Derek's campaign is in many ways a sign to me that we CAN make a difference and play an active role- even if it starts with very smal steps. I wish Derek the best of luck and I hope you will all stay tuned for updates as they develop.