Seed Stage Financing


I was eight and at the pool. We were living in New Mexico at the time, and I was just like every other young American boy with alien hand syndrome. In New Mexico, you live between pools in the summer. Little oases of life.

People often misunderstand what it means to truly ‘love the pool’, but that’s really what I felt. Standing in evidence of this was the erection I would get when my trunks filled up with the cool, chlorinated water. There was that sweet desperation with my concurrently ballooning pants and penis, as if it were a movie, and the protagonist is in a slowly flooding room. When the tip hit the water I felt like I was entering a highly sexually-charged home, like one where the mom was super hot and she always kept a bunch of sexy art, maybe even a nude photo of herself when she was younger. There’s that tingle when you walk in, like anything is possible.

Let’s be clear, it wasn’t like I was a pervert or anything, it was just that my little penis would become completely engorged with blood whenever I was around a pool. It was just a reaction, okay, I wasn’t thinking about sex, I was just happy. Really, this will hardly play into the story at all.

At the pool, we would play this game called bibblepaddle, and it was kind of like a home run derby for the pool, except that we kept an extra ball under the pool drain in the deep end, the ‘bibble’. If someone hit a home run, you could shout ‘bibble!’, and a whole other race began. If they finished a lap around the pool it was a grand slam. If they got hit with the bibble (it was a smelly old witch doll), then they had to leave the pool and go home in shame. Sometimes the suction from the drain would trap a kid down there for 5-10 seconds when they were retrieving the bibble, and we would all laugh (laughing being in fashion those days). I could hold my breath the longest, and was most often the bibblesnatcher.

There were usually four or five of us that played, all third graders, except for this one six year old girl who we would let play sometimes. She was always around, and usually topless, which was weird, but we didn’t think much of it. Everyone called her ‘moustache girl’, or ‘crusty bum hands’ (we thought she was poor because she was always so dirty). Like many of us, she had a strong affinity for ice cream bars, especially Blue Bunny™ Sonic the Hedgehog bars. You would know when she was playing because a slight blue moustache would peak above the water before darting down below. She was actually pretty graceful in the water, and, from what we could tell, she never left the pool.

One day, Todd McCullough hit a little squirter that skipped off the surface and out of the pool for a home run. I yelled ‘Bib-ble!’ just as the ball and the paddle made contact. As I raced below the surface, I could see his sweaty face paddling away from underwater and I knew he was going home early. I headed toward the bottom rung of the ladder in the deep end, to propel myself down to the drain with both hands and feet. As my hands clutched the bottom rung, my glee was interrupted. My right hand would not let go. It was my goddamn AHS. The harder I tried to pull my hand away, the harder it gripped. I had been down there about 30 seconds too long; I imagined that the jokes on the surface about how I was just stuck to the drain were probably starting to subside, and down below I began to panic.

There was reason behind the panic. For starters, I knew the lifeguard was really high and that none of the other players were great swimmers. Also, AHS can last anywhere from a few seconds to several hours. All signs pointed to ‘fucked’. Barring an oxygen tank miraculously falling into the pool, they would have to take my arm off to get me to the surface in time. As I looked around for ways to saw my hand off, I felt movement behind me, and for only the third or fourth time in my life, I felt a sticky moustache graze my left shoulder. ‘Moustache Girl’ darted around me, grabbed both my armpits and began to tickle me. To my own amazement, it loosened my grip, but in that amazement I expelled my remaining air and started sucking in water. I surged toward the surface.

As I was puking up water, I looked around for my diminutive savior. I made the startling realization that she had no knowledge of my extremely rare condition that caused me to lose control over my right hand at times- a fact that made her decision to tickle someone who was drowning rather dubious. Regardless, because Matt Garcello had left the lifeguard stand and was now listening to his headphones in the grass, I owed her my life.

I came to the pool the next day with some shitty flowers I had grabbed from the garden by the pool (I was eight, okay, I wasn’t sure how to say thanks). She wasn’t there, in fact none of us ever saw her again. Time went by and I graduated from bibblepaddle to more mature games like desperately trying to get laid, and the original EA Hockey. Moustache Girl faded from my mind, until one day I had a dream, framed like a memory from that day at the pool, and she was there, with a little purple backpack that said ‘Bloom’ on it. I woke up with a start and called my parents to see if they had my old third grade yearbook. Sure enough, there was her skimpy little picture, right along with the other Albuquerque Heights Lions of the first grade class. I was blown away by what I saw.

Her first name was ‘Orlando’. It was fucking Orlando Bloom.

I grew up to be a moderately successful businessman, and even managed to contain my AHS by always holding a cane in my right hand, and thus occupying it so I was not grabbing on to other things against my wishes. I also had the pool demolished, because my wife and three daughters drowned in it. Anyway, many years later I ran into Orlando while I was doing a corporate training in Los Angeles and staying at the Four Seasons. I wasn’t sure if he would remember me, but when I approached him, he shook my hand and pulled me in towards him and whispered, kind of croakily in my ear, “I saved your life”. I was surprised to say the least. “How… how did you know that tickling me would work?” I managed to get out. “Always tickle Brian, always tickle” he replied with a wry smile. I would have laughed if it were in fashion, but instead I watched him walk out of the room.

It was a seminal moment in my life, and the first time I realized that moustache girl was British. All I can say is that sometimes you need to take unorthodox approaches, in business and in life. And connections can pop up in the strangest places. That’s why I always say, if your venture capital seed-stage funding is starting to dry up, and it looks like your other business ventures are seizing up on you against your will in a vicious liquidity trap, try reaching out to someone. Maybe the queer looking little bum-handed moustachey girl at the pool. It just could work miracles. And remember, dreams are only dreams when you’re awake.

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  1. Ben Dobie on October 1, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Hilarious. I need more parables for the workweek. Help me Two Rogers!

  2. R. Flango Wolelle on October 26, 2010 at 2:57 am

    Great resource for venture capitalists, and people with a sense of humor.

  3. Burton Sanpedro on November 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm


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