They call me kid

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I was working in Munich, Germany when my startup was acquired by Digital Equipment Corporation. I was told to fly back on Sunday night for a big announcement. On Friday, they told me to fly back Monday instead. On Sunday, they told me to rebook for Tuesday. "Yeah, I think we're just gonna upgrade this to first class," my manager said. Tuesday they called just before I was going to leave for the airport. Wednesday morning they tried to track me down at the airport but I explained what was going on to the airline people and security and we all pretended not to hear the page. Then once back in California I waited around for a couple of days and many more plot twists but eventually we were acquired by Digital Equipment Corporation and in early 1990 I was back in Massachusetts signing up as an employee. A couple of months earlier we had stood on the Berlin Wall as it was coming down and now I was in the process of going from being employee #13 to being employee #303468.

There were lots of forms.

One of them asked for my nickname. Some people call me Jonathan, others Jon -- but that's not what I'd call a nickname. In fact, back then I didn't have any nicknames. So, not wanting to leave it blank, I put down "Kid," thinking that this was a good general-purpose nickname, confident that the form would go into a drawer somewhere and never be seen again.

Which it probably did, but first it was used to populate the all-in-1 database system and the corporate phone book.

So, for the next four and a quarter years, I would occasionally get calls saying "Um ... is this Kid Pincus?" or occasionally the amusing aggressive attempt at presuming familiarity "Hey, Kid, it's Dick, how's it goin'?" This was particularly amusing after I lost my voicemail privileges, and the receptionist would occasionally give me messages saying "call for you, 'kid'" -- both of us making the little quote marks with our hands.