Casualties of the 2008 Deleveraging: One Long Friendship

Around 2009 or so, America had gone to shit. The housing bubble had just bust and people were losing their jobs and unable to pay for homes and unable to get loans to pay off their other loans like they had been doing the last few years. It was a mess!

I was a mess!

I had just read two profound works by Ayn Rand that were in the midst of reshaping my view about the world and about my place in it. Before reading these works, I was more or less a well-meaning liberal who hated everything that George W. Bush stands for. I didn’t much believe in God (I still don’t), and I more or less had a victim mindset.

After reading the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, my perspective shifted drastically. I become a well-meaning libertarian-ish who hated everything that George W. Bush and Barack Obama stands for. I still don’t believe in God but I moved from calling myself agnostic to calling myself an Atheist (though it wouldn’t be until later that I came up with the concept of the Engineer Atheist). I was trying to abandon the victim mindset and take control of my destiny.

Well… a lot of bad shit happens when you’re trying to make big changes in your life. I was struggling with questions on what I was doing and why. I left my wife. And I alienated one of my best friends, whom had become a long-distance relation at this point.

Love Lost… and for what?

I’ll be honest… when I think about what went down it’s so fucking stupid and pointless. Neither of us will care on our deathbeds whether or not the Tea Party is good or bad for this country. Neither of us will care much whether or not people were really racist and resisted everything Barack Obama did because he had a funny name and a dark complexion.

Wouldn’t life be better if we just traded notes on the things that mattered the most and ignored what we would discard in an instant if we knew that we only had a few weeks to live?

I didn’t know then as I do now that Facebook does not facilitate discussion. And we used Facebook as one of our means to keep in touch. There is a reason they only provide a LIKE button. Facebook is the land of CONFIRMATION BIAS.

Around that same time, I lost my friend, Dave Meyer, to our petty squabbles about news that I no longer watch or consider important. But I have been moved to reach out to him and I believe in what I am doing. The letter I am sharing this morning was written by me… and it was brewing within me all weekend and I think it is right and good. I am proud of myself for writing it. Enjoy!

Letter to Dave Meyer by Francis Luong, 2015-03-03

Dear Dave,

I have fallen in love with a new album. On the surface of things, it will seem conventional: Try! by the John Mayer Trio. I think it is from 2005 or so. The album is a live album feature a drummer named Steve Jordan and a Bassist named Pino Palladino. I suspect you are already familiar with the latter.

It’s been a long time since I have listened to a set of songs as an album, and probably even longer since they have moved me to dream of what it would be like to have assembled a tight group for touring and songwriting and recording. But that’s what this album has done for me. And, not so strangely, this has made me think to reach out to you because yours is the first name pops to mind when I think of who I would want to gush to when I am in love with music. Please consider this a compliment.

I miss our friendship. I miss your take on life. I’m pretty sure I was intolerable and judgmental about the time we stopped corresponding. I suspect you would find my tone to be quite different nowadays. If you would care to catch up with an old friend, I want to say to you that I am here. I am ready.


Francis Luong (Franco)

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