Summer of '99

I have this little notepad at my desk that reminds me of the summer of 1999. But I’ll get to that notepad later…

In the summer of ‘99 I had an internship in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was exciting to figure out living in a large metro, and I was fortunate enough that my friend, Mike, was a year older and starting his career in the same metro. We found a duplex with one of his friends in North Minneapolis. Mike and I shared a room for the summer.

A small town boy, I had lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for a couple of years for college, but this was a big change. Ultimately day-to-day life wasn’t so different, though. Go to work. Acquire food. Do chores. Repeat. There was more access to interesting cultural things to do, but I was still in college and certainly didn’t have much of a budget.

Being away from Jesse, my future wife, was very challenging, of course. She was living and working back in Sioux Falls. We were able to find many weekend to meet up, though, and we made it through just fine.

I remember buying my first DVD player that summer. It was a big deal as it was the start of me acquiring a larger home theater setup for my senior year of college. (Yes, I had a proper surround sound setup in my dorm room.) The DVD player came with two or three free DVDs - the main one I remember was the really poor Lost in Space adaptation. I bought one “regular price” DVD, and that was Ronin. An excellent choice!

Oh! The Blair Witch Project came out that summer. I was no, and am no, horror fan, but I got caught up in this one. The internet was young, and we knew nothing about the movie when we went to the packed theater. Afterwards we spent much time on that fledgling internet trying to determine if the movie was indeed real or how they did it. The little that could be found was mostly other people also speculating about the same things. I mean, obviously it wasn’t real, but…you had to be there. It was a whole thing that couldn’t be recreated even weeks later.

About that notepad. I worked the summer at Minnesota Life, which sadly has since been poorly renamed to Securian Financial Group. I learned things such as:

  • Teams don’t really have a lot of work to give to interns.

  • Employees are jealous when an intern gets a window cubical.

  • When a neighboring intern coughs really loud, it might be because you were snoring.

  • You don’t get offered a full time position when someone probably saw you sleeping at your desk.

  • Invest in the stock market early and often.

  • If you have a family, get some term life insurance for peace of mind.

Among the swag I received was a towering Minnesota Life notepad. It has been in my home office for literal decades, and I’ve used it the entire time to make little notes throughout my days. It is almost finished, though. My last connection to Minnesota Life will be in the recycling bin soon!

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