Dom & Tom: Long Beach Island
Who are these people?
Looking at them individually, it’s difficult to see where they’d fit anywhere in the world. It’s not that they appear incompetent, unskilled or untalented, but rather that even the littlest things about them seem so unique, so parallel and irreplaceably dysfunctional. In all honesty I would be hard pressed to find a slot in the world for these people as individuals.
Even in working with them, it’s often difficult from within the rug to see how one task might be completed, how a plan might come together, how a project can be revived or even how it can fall apart, and still know who was really responsible for any of it.
The few days I spent on Long Beach Island with the crew of Dom & Tom Inc., from both the New York and Chicago offices, answered this question in a hilarious and extremely touching way. Somehow it now all makes sense – not only how these people fit into the world, but how I do, too.
I’ve spent most of my life feeling left out, inadequate or simply too weird to function on a level playing field with most “statistically” normal people. There were plenty of times that I was told that this was a strength more than it was a weakness. I get older and it becomes clearer why my parents and teachers would say this, but I still have a tendency to weird people out, say the wrong thing, crack a wrong joke or just come off as awkward, nervous, socially inept or just plain repulsive. I’ve learned to deal with it, which to say that I’ve given up on trying to change. Still, to me there are a lot of social situations that can be really discouraging or embarrassing.
These are all fairly petty issues, because I learned one extremely important thing on this trip: I am perfectly normal.
Who are these people? What do they do with their time and how are any of these misfits able to get anything done? That’s easy: they’re a family. I’ve always known what that word meant on paper, but after this weekend I know what it means by heart.
I felt a sense of home that I don’t know that I’ve ever felt: I felt like I really belonged. I felt like the miscellaneous, unrelated set of skills I have and the demented, compulsive behavior I exhibit was simply the status quo. Everyone around me was so full of life, energy, good ideas, bad ideas, worse jokes and, most of all, happiness. I watched the two offices, New York and Chicago, come together like they were two halves of a tightly-knit family that had been separated for years and were finally reunited.
The whole weekend was brilliant and effortless. Everyone got along. Everyone worked together to keep the house clean, the team active and our stomachs full of good food and plenty of booze. I’ve honestly never done or seen anything like it in my life
Sitting here on the plane ride home, remembering moments, overused punch lines and deeply repugnant jokes, I know a little more about myself and feel like the luckiest guy on the planet. What I have isn’t just a job: I now know how the company gets anything done and it’s the same ingredients of a fully-functional family… because that’s what we are, and whether we like it or not or want to admit it, no matter how much we individually accomplish or disappoint, we need each other.
I know that Dom & Tom wanted to put this trip together to say that we’ve done it as a company, but I think what’s more is that we did it so we can remember it… so that these memories become ingredients for patience in the day-to-day instead of simple frustration – just like a real family.
For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m exactly who I need to be, and I have everything I would ever want and need… perhaps with the exception of a pilot’s license and my own plane.
I’ve been on the verge of thinking that this is the best summer of my life, and this trip has me convinced. It’s true that you really don’t need too much in life to be happy – just know how to be yourself and be around people who like it when you are.
It’s like Sguigs said – “You don’t need a boogie board, all you need is your imagination.”
Do good, be good, keep calm and #domandtom.