A Visitor from Foreign Parts

An old friend visited this weekend, Jim’s college roommate, Jake. Roommates for their sophomore, junior, and senior years, these two share a lot of funny stories and a lot of very unusual expressions created during their years together. This language, JakeJim speak, is still the basis for most of their present day conversations, leaving the rest of us in the dark as to exactly what is meant by such phrases as, “de guy goes by so goes the guy.”

Jake’s career path has been a bit different than Jim’s. Jake works for the state department as the consul general and chief of mission in Jerusalem. Jim teaches sixth grade.

Here is how this all breaks down.

Jake has drivers, bodyguards, maids, and a cook. Jim is the maid. He is married to the cook.

Jake speaks Arab, Hebrew, Dutch, Greek, English and JakeJim speak. Jim speaks sixth grade, a very arcane dialect and one he can understand only because of his deep understanding of JakeJim speak.

At the consulate, Jake has two gardeners. At the farm, Jim is married to the gardener.

Jake knows pretty much everyone in government and has pictures of himself meeting these people. Jim has these pictures of Jake.

Jake attends too many meetings. So does Jim.

Jake takes part in many meetings between factions that disagree with each other. So does Jim.

Jake had a meeting this morning at the UN. Jim had a meeting too.

Jake has top secret clearance and reads top secret documents on a routine basis. Jim intercepts notes passed in class.

Jake has flown in Marine One, the president’s helicopter with various presidents. Jim sees an occasional helicopter fly over the farm.

After thirty years in the diplomatic service, Jake has one degree of separation between just about everyone on Earth. Because of Jake, Jim has two degrees of separation from everyone.

I knew both Jake and Jim when they were in college. Their career trajectories are of little interest to me because I am more amazed that they have gray hair. After all, to me, they are still those twenty year old guys who spoke a strange language, invented a new holiday called Dada Day and did serious research to see if they could survive on a diet of pop tarts and kraft macaroni and cheese.


Jake and Jim, during their senior year in college, take a pause in their argument about what the big building in the valley below is.

Another historic moment, the handshake signals the beginning of the JakeJim accord wherein Jake and Jim agree to disagree on what that building was in that valley, an argument that has been a constant in their relationship, thus giving Molly the first breather she has had from this inane argument in thirty years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.