January 5, 2002


At sixteen, in an act of desperation, I took an aptitude test. Not long after taking the test, I dropped out of high school – or rather, announced having done so, since I had stopped attending classes the previous year.

The test consisted of about two hundred yes/no questions. You answered the questions and tallied the results. This left you with a three-letter code that corresponded to a list of jobs typically performed by people with that code.

Strangely, the page with my code included just one job title, while most such pages listed a dozen or more. Stranger still was the job listed: furrier.

My grandfather Abbie

Furrier would have been strange in any case, but it made even more strange by the fact that my grandfather Abbie, who died when I was fifteen and who was the only adult I loved as a child, had been a furrier.

Many years later I researched the aptitude test and came to understand my strange result. My three-letter code is very rare, since the first two letters, which represent creative types and detail types, seldom apply to the same people.

Notably, the making of a fur coat requires both sensibilities. As does the making of a website. Which is what I do: I make websites.