Modern Man: Trade it for the World

As we near the five year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy in the U.S. I’ve begun to rethink the events of that day. A good friend of mine was married atop one of those towers and I happened to be with that same guy on that day in 2001. We were in New York for a work project with Levi’s and were having a hectic but nice time. I have always loved the city and my travails through the dense urbane and manic lushness. This visit was different from the start. I had absolutely no desire to go to New York. And remember it’s pre-9/11, so the airport here in Atlanta, Georgia, though the worlds busiest was still relatively efficient and you certainly didn’t have to remove your shoes to get on the plane. The trip was absolutely free and the fellas I was rolling with did everything big, I mean top-shelf! The company I was working with was at the time one of the hottest urban agencies in the country. (In 2001 urban was still an advertising industry buzz word for African American) So that meant we literally got paid for doing cool shit, pushing hip and confounding the hell out of the suits in corporate America. I mean these dudes were getting loot for things like deep crate diving for the best old school hip-hop tracks for commercials, Writing the core brand language for Sprite and cluing the mega-companies in to what music was next to hit the streets. This trip to New York would be no different. We were in the flyest hotel on Forty Second Street (they actually have bronze Kaws statues that flank the lobby doors). We were putting together a concert featuring the Roots ® for Levi’s(TM) at the B.B. King© Blues Club. How cool was that... However, I loathed the thought of being there. Something was looming. Now I’m not claiming any psychic ability here, all I’m saying is I felt sick the entire trip. The morning of the show that just happened to be scheduled for September 11th 2001. I was sleeping off a night of nervous tension offset by a few drinks, gut busting laughter and the type of acid joke cracking only found in the “hood”. My hard shell sleep was cracked open by intent knuckles rapping on my door. I responded with a pissed off Fred Sanford type of grimy “WHAT!” It was Stan, “Hey man look out the window.” His urgency caused me to leap up, snatch the curtains back and get my retinas sun-blasted. I saw nothing but early morning Broadway. I was like, man what the...? Stanley shouted, “your on the wrong side of the building, run down to my room!” Once inside his room I saw it. My jaw loosened and lowered. My breathing stopped. Not certain what I was looking at I ask in disbelief, “what am I looking at... why is there a hole in that building?” They explained. We watched simultaneously through the window and on the television where it somehow seemed more real. I watched the second plane zero in on the tube and turned my head a slow 90 degrees and saw the explosion with my bare eyes... The rest lives in infamy and memory. It’s still strange to me that I was actually there. I’m reshaped but I know not yet the form.

Leslie Robertson was Chief Engineer, on the World Trade Center building and subsequently the one people tried to blame for it’s collapse. His design was brilliant and has been proven in no way liable. He is back at work.

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