Recently, I started thinking about buying myself a pair of aviator sunglasses. Not because they’re my style or because I think they’re especially flattering to me. No, I bought a pair because they remind me of Matt when I first started dating him. I remember that first semester of sophomore year, Matt would sit out on the Cut at Carnegie Mellon in his aviators with his curly hair, boat shoes and what I called his snaggle tooth and I thought he was so cute and cool. He dropped two of his classes that semester because he was failing them so he had a really light load and could sit around a lot.
This made me laugh then cry this morning:
I laughed because the article is hilarious. Then I watched the video and cried because it made me think of Matt. I remember back in college Matt took a business course. He had to do a group project where he came up with a product concept and marketed it. Matt came up with the idea of pre- triggering airbags by adding a sensor to the car that would sense an imminent collision. The idea was that the airbag could be deployed in a way that was less harmful to the person in the car by having more time to deploy. (I think something like this does exist now.) Matt chose the name Aegis for his product to bring up that image of protection.
For some reason, I misremembered Aegis as being a king of Greek mythology. After looking it up, I see that the Aegis was the shield or breastplate of Zeus and Athena (funny that a God should need a shield) and “is identified with protection by a strong force.” Matt loved doing that project and 20 years later, I can see the threads that came out of that experience for him. Going into a marketing career. Working on a product (LiveMosaic) that he thought was a really good idea. Sticking with the Greek mythology references (Prometheus is the name of the LiveMosaic code base). Choosing a product that he thought would enrich and improve people’s lives.
Recently, I was telling a friend that Matt and I never really dated. She laughed at me and said, “What? You just got married?”
What I meant was that we didn’t really go on dates. Matt just kind of attached himself to me and would invite himself along to wherever I was going. Of course, we were in college so a lot of the time, it also meant that Matt would just sit down next to me in the dorm cafeteria or on the lawn in early fall to enjoy the weather. I’m sure I was also inclined to stop and talk to him when I saw him because he made it so easy.
After we were a couple, I learned that all along Matt was using his strategy to “reel me in.” He told me that in high school, his best friend and he had discovered a very successful way to attract women. He would approach a girl and be very friendly, talking her up (“macking” as I learned the term from Matt), and generally giving her a lot of attention. Then he would withdraw that attention. Nine times out of ten, the girl when then come after him. I wouldn’t say I ever went after Matt, but it was so easy to talk and be with him that it was natural to progress from friendship to dating. And he always made me laugh.
I had a dream this morning that reminded me of what I guess I would call Matt’s and my first date. We didn’t really go on very many dates in college, but there was one night where we did something together– I don’t remember what– and ended up back in my dorm room, lying on the floor, talking openly. At some point my roommate came in. When Matt and I started dating seriously, she told me she thought that would happen after finding us that one night.
Hi, Bill Tsai, as Matt’s auntie, I’m contacting a few people who knew him from his early years, before he married. We would like you to write a longer, more personal remembrance of Matt if you would like to, especially for his children, ages 7, 4, and one year. Is it accurate to assume you were not at the funeral? There was a standing room only crowd, from many dimensions of his life, mostly co-workers from at least 3 different companies. Continue reading