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  • Alex and Bill have held many roles to me in my life as a management consultant: Friend. Mentor. Colleague. Boss. Offensive lineman. Executive.

    I recently left that 6 years of accelerated life. One of the things I will greatly miss are "executive grammar lessons" with Alex.

    These lessons often came in the form of tiny nuggets of chuckles and silent giggling as Alex remarked how he would try to teach his 7-year old son the same grammar and spelling lessons that our venerable friend, Bill (whom we respect... and love to tease) had failed to digest.

    These nuggets were little pelts that briefly took me out of the consulting microcosm and reminded me not to take ourselves too seriously (very important for those "All Hope Is Lost" moments).

    Alex and I always shared the jokes with Bill. It is easy to tease someone for something as simple as grammar mistakes when that someone has proven his business logic, fast mental quant skills and organization empathy quotient as well as Bill has.

    Sometimes Bill would characteristically groan and roll his eyes. Other times, he would simply ignore us so as not to give us the satisfaction of having irritated him. Familiarity with this response no doubt inadvertently gave me and Alex comfort that everything was functioning normally in our consulting microcosm and that there was still plenty of Hope to be had.

    One day I remember telling Bill that I had coffee with Alex and an alumni friend, Ang:

    Me: "Ang said, 'It's good to see you got him [Alex] to loosen up!'"

    Bill: "Yes. I noticed he only got comfortable with openly making fun of me after you joined the firm. I hope you're happy with yourself."

    Me (gleefully): "Yes. Thank you."
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