#Chimpitas: The Legend Begins…(the real story)

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This September, I happened to use the word “gravitas” in a conversation with Barbara. She’d seen the word before, of course, but hadn’t ever heard it spoken aloud. One of the Roman Virtues, it can be translated as weight, seriousness and dignity, but always connotes a certain substance or depth of personality (to quote the Wikipedia definition.)

She was delighted by the word, and used it 30-40 times per day: “This book has a certain gravitas.” Or perhaps “That actor has gravitas.” Or even “Gee, this morning’s blueberries have a lot of gravitas.” Needless to say, I found this charming. 

While she was still in the grip of gravitas-mania, we were also preparing for her presentation in Helsinki for the NASDAQ OMX to an audience of about 500 people. Barbara knew her material cold, but wanted some accompanying slides that would educate, inform and entertain. She happens to think highly of my PowerPoint craft, and asked me to help her out, which was a not inconsiderable effort: maybe 10-20 hours. In return for which, when we swung through Paris on our way home from Helsinki, Barbara would reward me with a lavish dinner at the Tour d’Argent. (Woot!)

One morning, after a couple of hours of me PowerPointing away, Barbara made a joke: like technological services such as Mail Chimp, I was her Slide Chimp! I pondered briefly, looked stern, and said that I was not merely any old Slide Chimp, but rather “Mr. Slide Chimpitas.”

She immediately went into hysterics, and stayed there. For weeks, she would refer to S. Chimpitas, and when we were in Paris after our trip to the Nordics, she spent nearly two whole days prowling the various arrondisements for the perfect physical embodiment of Chimpitas in puppet form, presumably leaving a trail of rejected and discarded stuffed chimps across Paris.

But at last her search was successfully concluded, and she gave him to me with a card at the Tour…which makes him, I suspect, one of the relatively few chimpanzee hand puppets to have graced that institution.

I decided to make #Chimpitas the mascot of the Deloitte 2014 TMT Predictions world tour, for reasons to be discussed shortly…

Next post: In which we all discover the TRUE meaning of #Chimpitas.

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