Who Is Cipher?


Who is Cipher? I’ll tell you.

A month ago, during the January 26, 2011 blizzard in New York City I met up with a friend from college. We drank beer at an Upper East Side bar called Johnny Foxes and talked about how our lives had changed since graduation. After working for several years, my friend decided to apply for business school. I complained about how no one warned me that leaving an academic environment and entering the rat race meant the discontinued use of one’s brain. After an hour of catching up, my friend said, “It’s jarring to talk to you. It’s surreal.”

More than one person have told me this. “You’re in these worlds but not of them. You’re a…” He paused to think of a word. “A spectator?” I asked. “Yeah, that’s one way to put it, but it’s not the right word.”

Perhaps it’s the analytical way I think. The personas I put on or the walls I build around myself. “It’s hard to get to the real you,” he said. “You dated this girl who fascinated you with her alternative lifestyle, and even though you never connected with her you just went along with it. You’re an entrepreneur who contributed no capital and has no skin in the game.”

We left Johnny Foxes and walked into the blizzard that was dumping 20 inches of snow on New York City. “I’ve got it,” he said as we trudged through the foot of snow on sidewalks. “You’re a cipher.”