Saturday, January 22, 2011

1.25.11: Wear Your Watermelon Sneakers

I got a letter last weekend from H&R Block with some sad news:
I am sorry to share with you that your tax professional, William Sommer, has passed away. William's professionalism, knowledge and friendship will be missed by clients and colleages alike.

Here's the remarkable thing about Mr. Sommer, who died in September from complications following a heart attack: Getting your taxes done with him was actually kind of enjoyable. Yes, it probably took twice as long because of his long anecdotes about the tax code and how they relate to real life, but it was fun.

Before I even met him, I knew he was a quirky character, and I had great admiration for how he walked his own path in his Watermelon Sneakers. In fact, he had been featured in the New York Times City Room blog, "Must Be the Shoes (Those Watermelon Sneakers)."

(Photo by Corey Kilgannon/New York Times)

Corey Kilgannon interviewed Mr. Sommer about his unusual shoes.

Mr. Sommer told the reporter that he found the shoes at a shop at Chelsea and decided he must have them. At first he was afraid to wear them, worried they would get ruined.

Then, he decided he would wear them 13 times a year -- on "Watermelon Days" to mark obscure holidays such as Red Ruffing Day and Bloomsday. They were meant to be conversation starters, he said.

Even without the shoes, you would have wanted to talk to Mr. Sommer. He was interesting, informative and brought delight to drudgery, even taxes.

My challenge to you today is to add bring delight to others' days and to walk your own path (even if you don't have a pair of Watermelon Sneakers).

Here is a link to the New York Times City Room Blog

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