They did. And then, in a moment, it all changed.
The First Couple becomes the First Widow. I have to read the story twice to understand.
Forty-seven-year-old billionaires aren't supposed to fall off treadmills and die. He was on vacation with his wife and kids, with the family he loved. He was beloved by women everywhere because of the support he gave to his wife's career. Sheryl Sandberg is the famous one, but put two women together, and it wouldn't be a minute before one of us pointed out that what was really extraordinary was the man she married, the father of her children, the other parent at the dinner table, the one who pushed her to ask for more, who wanted Mark Zuckerberg to stretch to get Sheryl because she's worth it. This is the man who fell off the treadmill and died.
In the coming days, there may be more information as to what caused Dave Goldberg to fall and the sequence of events. But that isn't what I mean. What I mean is why .
Why this guy, who was showing men they could actually have it all? Silicon Valley is full of guys who don't even understand what role models are.
There are all kinds of ways this didn't happen, shouldn't happen, wouldn't happen, and then there is the fact that it did. The tree in the mountain dead-straight on that shouldn't be there, but is. A guy goes to the gym at the Four Seasons Resort and works out and comes back. It happens hundreds of thousands of times all over the world. Except this time.
In most of life, there is, thankfully, a comforting connection between cause and effect, between deliberate actions and their consequences, which makes life substantially less terrifying and, I think, accounts for everyone's eagerness to find ways in which this simply couldn't happen to them.
And it works, most of the time. You make good choices, prudent choices, responsible choices, and the results follow. The kids who get in trouble are the ones you think will get in trouble. The girls who are fast don't slow down. Treadmills make you healthier.
Goldberg should have lived on to change the way people think of powerful men and women. He should have lived to make sure Sheryl's great talents aren't undersold. He should have lived to be there, holding her hand, as he was in so many pictures of the two of them at business meetings together. He should have lived, period.
The comments sections on Goldberg's death are already full of snarlings about whether we can stop "leaning in" now that Dave is gone, and whether Sheryl can or should, as if any of that is anyone's business but hers right now. Blather. Those pictures of him holding her hand — those will be emblems for future generations, if not for the once-so-lucky girl who looks so happy.
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