Dik's Ravings

Dik Saalfeld '80
Washington correspondent
Spring 2005

Doug Ross '82 called me out of the blue a few weeks ago when he was in town for business. We met for dinner. I hadn't seen him since he busted out of Cornell in 1980. Like Bill Dinan '83 he has a pact with Satan, and looks pretty much the same. Different style of glasses. New shoes. But still thin with a mop of unruly hair and a youthful twinkle in his eye. He has lead a boring life, except for the marriages and the bungee jumping business and raising two sets of children and hiring a bunch of Mexicans to help him in a venture that takes him all over the country, living in motels and eating liverwurst and onion sandwiches. Maybe "boring" wasn't the word I wanted. He keeps in sporadic contact with Tom Carbone '82 and Paul Weston '79.

Tom Carbone, incidentally, moved to Oregon where he runs a wind power business. He used to run a business that produced diesel-powered generators. His next career move will likely involve cold fusion, or perhaps the sun. Tom, as many of you recall, was in charge of keeping the old firetruck running. This was where he learned about inefficient power generation. When people would ask him what kind of mileage a 1942 firetruck laden with drunken fratboys got, he would mumble "about 5 in the city." This usually raised cries of horror which would likely have been more extreme had Tom revealed that he wasn't using the miles per gallon standard, but the little known gallons per mile measurement, usually the domain of aircraft carriers and Saturn V rockets.

Donzo Wierbilis '80 lives in Colorado with his wife, Donna Maclauchlan '81, and their two kids. Remember what a doughball Donzo was in the '70s? Kind of a sad sack who looked like he carried rolls of nickels in his pockets? He has negative body fat and a resting heart rate of about 10. He routinely bikes the Rockies, a hundred miles at a crack. He can bench press Yaz's mother. Take solace, laggards: middle age doesn't have to be hell's waiting room.

Brian Pickerall '82 is celebrating two major life events this summer, namely the high school graduation of his youngest daughter, and the final child support check. He's been sending the girl brochures for trade school, after having gotten wind of the cost of college tuition these days.

Brad Garrigues '77 and his wife, Debbie, welcomed their two boys back from a stint in Iraq with the Marine Corps. The young men were in the same platoon. Bradford and Jonathan manned grenade launchers and machine guns, respectively, which they used on numerous occasions. The proud and relieved parents recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have a daughter, Deborah, as well.

Bob "Box" Forness '87 is living the life of Reilly in Bermuda, where he works at some overpaid job or other. His family, meanwhile, is living the life of Reilly's gardener in New Jersey. Box commutes weekly. I can't make stuff like this up, folks. I told you guys before you bid Box that he looks like he has brain damage, but you wouldn't listen. Box reminded me that he, too, was Firetruck Chairman, but that he got it to 2 gallons per mile, mostly by keeping the tires filled.

Bill Page '85 will be missing his 20th Reunion because he is going to his parents' anniversary party. They must be a hundred years old. My advice would be to go to the Reunion, blow off the folks, then call them and tell them what a good time he had celebrating their special day. Who would know?

Brett Sylvester '83 called me a few months ago. I heard his wife and two tiny children screaming in the background. He said "can you take off a few days, starting tomorrow? The blues are running off the Carolinas. I'll trailer the boat and we can drive down tonight." Alas, I couldn't, but I love that man.

I had lunch recently with Kevin Dean '80 and Tom Berg '80. Kevin lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is an executive with Microsoft. His wife Chris is, if you can believe it, more luscious than ever. Tom retired from the Navy and works for a defense contractor with "hawk" in the name. I've got his business card somewhere. He'll chew me out for this, but I can't keep track of every damn thing, and the last thing I need is a bunch of ex-CIA guys wondering why their company is being mentioned in a column called "Dik's Ravings." Despite being military and spy types, eventually they would track me down - sooner or later they'd look in the phone book - and the next thing you know, Dik will be sleeping with the fishes. Maybe that's the mob. I get those guys mixed up.

Kelley and I sold our house in Georgetown. We got sick of the neighborhood. We moved about 160 feet away. The new house is tricked out with all kinds of neat stuff, including a phone switching board that would make many businesses proud. One of the neighbors said that Teddy Roosevelt's grandson, a CIA man, lived there, and the records show that the property was once owned by Teddy's daughter-in-law. You would think curiosity would drive me to investigate this further, but you would be showing your ignorance of the true depth of my laziness.

Speaking of my boundless lassitude, I meant to call our class of '80 brothers to get them to our 25th Reunion, but I never got around to it. Of all people, I sent a letter to Paul Schilling, but I never heard back. Maybe I'll call Ralph Bischof. Nobody has heard from him since graduation. I Googled him and found out what he's up to, but rather than tell the truth, I'll just say this, assuming they allow him to read this: Ralph, fifteen-to-thirty will pass faster than you think, if you stay busy. But don't pick up the soap.