brushes with greatness

The Night We Met the Lloyd Face in Real Life, Part I

Scene: The Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Awards. The Pierre Hotel. Night.

Characters: Andrew Ross Sorkin, Lloyd Blankfein, Intel Jessica, Dealbreaker Bess Levin, Assorted Nerds from the worlds of Media and Finance

Note: No alcohol was consumed during the following exchanges. The participants have nothing on which to blame their embarrassing behavior but themselves.

Intel Jessica enters the room, which is crowded with finance people, and begins looking for Dealbreaker Bess. The two have been told that Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs and the host for the evening, won’t be doing any interviews, and as this is a room full of journalists, she expects him to be quarantined off somewhere, given Recent Events and whatnot. Then, suddenly, right in front of her, there he is: Lloyd, the light of their lives, if not the fire of their lloyns. She turns toward him, then away, then back again, like a lunatic.

Intel Jessica [To self.] Am not a fan. Am journalist. [Taps Lloyd on shoulder. He turns to her, face aglow with the unmistakable Lloyd Twinkle, which he wears throughout the evening unless otherwise noted. Intel Jessica’s mind goes blank, and she says the thing she has always imagined she would say but knows she should not actually say]

Intel Jessica: Lloyd! I feel like I know you.


Intel Jessica: Oh God, you just made the Lloyd Left Eye Crinkle Face at me. I can’t even believe that happened. [Note: Intel Jessica is 70/30 on whether she said this out loud. 70 on the probably side.]

Intel Jessica: I mean. I work at New York Magazine, online.* We write about you all the time. We have Photoshopped you onto like a million different things. A Tiger. An Orc. Jesus. Jeggings.


Intel Jessica: No, I mean, good things! You would like them, probably. You … you inspire me.

Lloyd: [Twinkling again.] Would I prefer what you write about me to not being written about at all?

Intel Jessica: Okay, that’s a good point.

Lloyd: Let me put it this way — I prefer zero percent to 100 percent good.

[Meanwhile, Lloyd’s other companions have turned away. It is just Intel Jessica and Lloyd, alone. Face to expressive face with him, Intel Jessica is completely, full-on, pathetically starstruck. Inside her head, a mob of lefty finance bloggers and distinguished journalists screams at her. “Ask him a question about something important!” says one who sounds like Gretchen Morgenstern. “About what?” she says back. “Abacus?” Instead she blurts out the one thing that comes to mind.]

Intel Jessica: So, you won a swim race this summer. How do you plan to stay in shape this winter? Do you play winter sports?

Lloyd: I run, jump, and play with all the other boys and girls. I work out. You know, I have gym things. Can’t you tell? [ He gestures to his belly. ] Maybe you could you Photoshop me onto Michael Phelps.

Intel Jessica: Honestly, I think I probably already have.

Lloyd: [Reflectively.] The head would probably be too small. Two men in gray suits approach Lloyd. Intel Jessica decides it would probably be best to make an escape.

Intel Jessica: Okay, I’m going to let you go. It was nice meeting you, Lloyd.

Lloyd: Nice meeting you, Jessica.

Intel Jessica: [Swoons at the fact that he remembers her name even though she is wearing a name tag. Mob of Serious People in her head glares at her reproachfully. Makes her way to the lobby where she finds Bess.]

Bess: [Taking note of the high fever in Intel Jessica’s face.] Oh my God, you talked to Lloyd.

Intel Jessica: I completely tanked. It was embarrassing. It was like Almost Famous. Much worse, actually.

Bess: We have to go find him.

Intel Jessica: Oh Bess, I don’t think I can. My heart.

Bess: It’s LLOYD.

Intel Jessica: Okay. Okay. He’s there.

[They order glasses of wine and stare, agog. A man comes up with a clipboard and starts herding Lloyd toward the dining room.]

Bess: They’re taking him away! They’re trying to take him away! We have to follow him.

[Trying to blend in with the rest of the group, they walk toward an area where pictures are being taken, until they are right behind Lloyd, who is talking to the awesomely named Allen Dodds-Frank, of the Daily Beast. They stand behind him, as if they’re all together and part of the same conversation.]

Lloyd: I have two sons at the firm now 

Intel Jessica: Speaking of! Would you ever consider adopting another child? Like an adult?

Bess: Two adults?

Lloyd: But I’m so mean!

Dealbreaker Bess: We want you to be mean to us!

[A handler of some sort comes up to Lloyd and introduces him to important-looking people, one whom is Shriti Vadera, adviser to the G20 Presidency, Korea. Jessica and Bess are not happy about this but use the time to strategize among themselves.]

Dealbreaker Bess: What should I say to him? What did you say to him? I don’t want to ask him the same stuff.

Intel Jessica: I can’t remember anything I said. I have no recollection. I feel like I’m drunk. [Editor’s Note: THIS IS WHAT HE DOES TO PEOPLE.]

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* Dear coworkers, I am sorry to have brought shame upon us all in this way. Please forgive me.

The Night We Met the Lloyd Face in Real Life, Part I