white men with money

Inside the Jamie Dimon–Lloyd Blankfein Pep Talk

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon (L) and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein leave the White House after they and 13 other bank heads met with President Barack Obama March 27, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama used the meeting to tell the bankers that they must look beyond short-term interests toward obligations each person has in order to make it through the current economic troubles.
Just two guys, talking. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Today the Times reported that as shareholders and the media bear down on him, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has turned to his one-time rival, formerly embattled Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, for advice. Over the past few months, the paper reports, the two “foul weather friends” have had “a number of private conversations” about how to hang on during a very public crisis.

We have obtained a transcript* of one of those calls. What follows is a dramatic reenactment.

Scene: 15 Central Park West. Night. A phone on a bedside table rings. The clock next to it reads 3 a.m. A hand fumbles for the phone, and as a just-waking man rights himself we see it is Lloyd C. Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, clad in footie pajamas and an old-fashioned nightcap, the kind with a ball on the end.

Lloyd: [Groggily.] “Hello?”

Voice: [Huskily.] “It’s me.”

Lloyd: “Jamie? It’s three in the morning!”

Cut to Jamie Dimon, tiptoeing through a darkened Park Avenue apartment in a Chicago Cubs jersey. His lower half is obscured by large pieces of furniture but it’s clear he is wearing no bottoms. He is eating a pint of Cherry Garcia ice cream with a serving spoon.

Jamie: “I know, it’s just … 

He goes to open his bathroom door. Lloyd, on the other end of the phone, hears a female voice screaming. It is Jamie Dimon’s daughter, LAURA.

Laura [offscreen]: “Dad! I was pooping! This is the only place I feel safe! Do you have to ruin everything?”

Laura storms off to her bedroom and we return to JAMIE, who is spraying a can of Glade.

Jamie: “Lloyd, I can’t sleep. My shareholders are trying to take away my chairman job, and a year after it happened, I still can’t shake the London Whale thing. After the board cut my bonus in half! I’m afraid to say it, but it’s almost like no … like no … 

Lloyd hears sniffles through the phone.

Lloyd: “It’s okay. Just get it all out.”

Jamie: ” … like nobody likes me!”

Jamie sinks down onto the toilet seat. Reflected in the mirror behind him, we see a large, faded portrait of Sandy Weill pinned to a dart board. The word DICK is scrawled across Weill’s forehead in magic marker.

Jamie: “I tried everything to cheer myself up — getting Ken Langone to defend me on TV, firing half my managers, a little retail therapy. But nothing is working. I’m a wreck.”

Lloyd: “Well, I’m not sure what you want me to do about it.”

Jamie: “I know I should feel ashamed of asking for your help, after all those jokes I made about the ‘God’s work’ thing. And your hairline. And the time that I ate a bagel slowly and deliberately in front of you, because I am naturally svelte and you’re not allowed to have carbs or else you turn into Roseanne Barr. But shame is not something I ever really feel, so.”

Lloyd: [Now standing at the stove, heating a glass of warm milk.] “Don’t forget the giant dead squid you sent me.”

Jamie: [Chuckling.] “That was Rahm’s idea!”

Lloyd: “Why don’t you call him, then?”

Jamie: “He won’t talk to me anymore. You’re all I’ve got left.”

Lloyd: “Well, I already gave you my advice: Grow a cuddly-looking beard.”

Jamie: [Barely audible.] “I … can’t.”

Lloyd: “What?”

Jamie: “I CAN’T! Okay? All I get is peach fuzz.”

Lloyd: “Well, I’m not sure what else I can tell you. You just have to hang in there, and it will get better. Like Winston Churchill said, ’If you’re going through hell, keep going.’”

Jamie picks a Kleenex from the box, wipes a solitary tear running down his face.

Jamie: [Softly.] “Can you do the voice?”

Lloyd: “What voice?”

Jamie: “The Tom Brady voice. You’re the only one who knows.”

Lloyd: “Are you serious?”

Jamie: “Please?”

Lloyd:  [Rolls eyes, then says gruffly.] “Fine. Hang in there, JD! Even us Super Bowl champs have bad days.”

Jamie throws the Kleenex away, rises from the toilet seat, and pumps his fist in the air.

Jamie: “YES! Thanks, Tom — I mean, Lloyd. I knew I could count on you.”

* imaginary, duh.