He was lost. He’d been lost for years but had refused to admit it. Now he had no choice.
In his mind, a voice said, “You’re not really lost. You’ve made mistakes, and some of them were devastating, but everyone makes mistakes. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ll never recover. That’s what losers do. They fall into traps and never recover. Your job is to learn from your mistakes and get some rest. You’re not a loser. You’re just tired. At your age, you can’t accomplish anything when you’re tired.”
The voice had the same cadence as his mother’s voice and the same detached tone as his father’s voice but his mother and father were both dead and he knew they weren’t speaking to him from beyond the grave. That would be too easy. There were times when he allowed the voice to reassure him but he had learned the hard way that allowing yourself to be reassured was just another form of false confidence. He wanted to experience authentic confidence. He wanted to wake up one morning and hear the voice say, “Guess what? That feeling of being lost? It was all a test, and you passed. You’re a spectacular human being. Welcome to the life you always wanted.”
Unfortunately, the only place where he heard the voice make that statement was in his imagination and he didn’t trust his imagination any more than he trusted the voice. What did he trust? He trusted the hollow expression he saw on his face when he looked in the mirror. He trusted sorrow. He trusted the regrets that followed him into his dreams. He trusted the obvious algebra of his life: Success belonged to people on the other side of the equation. Loss belonged on his side. His tendency to quit while he was behind was a disease. It had infected his past, present, and future. There was no cure. On his deathbed, he would look back at his choices and ask himself, How could you have been so stupid?
His only comfort was the bleak certainty of his status as a lost man. On a primal level, being lost and knowing you were
lost was better than being lost and pretending not to be. After you found the courage to admit you were lost, the temptation
to deceive yourself became that much easier to resist.
He consoled himself with magazines. He liked the famous faces in the pictures and the famous names in the captions. Bezos, Lawrence, Marling, Miranda…. These were life’s winners, life’s revolving Hall of Fame. The voice said, “Their success can be your success.” He told the voice to go to hell.
One day, he read an article about the diamond district in New York City. The article said the diamond cutters were under constant pressure. If a diamond cutter cut a diamond the wrong way, the diamond could lose up to 99% of its value. To relieve the pressure, the diamond cutters took breaks. On their breaks, they left their cutting tables and went into small, windowless rooms where they listened to Brahms and ate roast beef sandwiches. Some of the diamond cutters went a step further. After listening to Brahms and eating roast beef sandwiches, they sat on couches, held emeralds in their hands, and stared at the emeralds. The rich, luminous green of the emeralds soothed their eyes and restored their nerves. After staring at emeralds for five minutes, the diamond cutters went back to work.
Which brings us to the 2005 Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico.
In the glass, the 2005 Zenato Amarone reaches an unspoken agreement between crimson and scarlet. The color sets the stage for the bouquet, which does not remind you of fruits or vegetables so much as archaic temples and forgotten gods. On the palate, this wine is a restorative tonic. If you have tasted one too many clever Cabernets and now suffer from the Curse of the Jaded Palate, the 2005 Zenato Amarone will revive your innocence. The finish is long, luxurious, and steadfast. It’s a finish for the ages, a closing argument that speaks to and from
I wish I could tell you that the Man Who Knew He Was Lost bought a bottle of the 2005 Zenato Amarone, took it home, made dinner, drank the Amarone with his family and friends, and discovered, to his delight and surprise, that being lost was a trick of the mind, a false assumption he’d made about himself, and that he lived happily ever after. The reason I can’t tell you that story has something—though not everything—to do with the 2005 Zenato Amarone’s ability to summon the truth and offer
it to you as a gift. The Man Who Knew He Was Lost survived but his self image did not improve. Over time, he learned that identity itself was an illusion, and that a cultivated sense of loss was the only way to keep that illusion
The voice said, “You had your doubts about me, but I never gave up on you. When you were lost, I found you. When you were tired, I gave you the rest you needed. You thought I was a figment of your imagination but I was just the opposite. I was your emerald.”