More or less the text is like this:
At forty five years old, only, when a Mistaken Identity turned around all my life.
But was it really a mistake?
I had to return to Paris from my 3 years at the NIH near Washington DC.
‘We do not have often demands for chemists.’ I was told.
Finally, one nice older man told me ‘sit down, forget your PhD in chemistry and 7 years of Research: what else you can do?’
Between others, I told about the new learned skill of using a computer and some basic programming. ‘Yes! We do need someone to teach beginner computers to Companies”
It was well paid, but by they gave me very few hours.
Thus went my chemist past from which this tee shirt remains only.
One of the owners of a cloth distribution company, told me: I do not want to be taught, make me an Invoice Program on my new Apple computer.
‘Invoice? Program? Apple?’
He offered me 10 000 francs, so and I told ‘Yes, I will do it’.
It took me five month, but finally it run also I never become a good programmer. But to my surprise, two years later it still worked!
The same man created an Apple Club of Paris, to entice me to teach for free, he named me its Vice president and printed me even business cards. we were ten: a President and three VP,
A month later, I went to visit my daughter, still student in Washington the an Apple Club in Washington had not 10 but 1000 members. Its president asked me to visit and showed me all the interesting new things he was send for all over USA.
‘Oh, we have nothing like these in France!’
‘Why do not import them there? Here is Legend Memory president’s card: call him, tell him I showed you his product.
Will he send me also one to show?
I still see myself in the cave without window where my daughter lived, and the telephone in my hands and me trembling. But a telephone call cost lots of money from Washington to Denver! Could I afford it? I pondered for long time.
Finally I called.
The call went on about thus:
‘I want to speak to Legend President.’
‘I live in Paris’
‘ I am now in Washington, the Apple Club’s president showed me your product’.
‘Great. Want to sell it or buy for yourself?’
‘I would like to have one, to show. Sell’
‘Are you dealer or distributor?’
I had no idea what a dealer is or what means distributor so I asked.
‘Dealer? distributor? What is the difference?’
He did believe I did not know what the words mean in English.
‘A dealer has a shop. A distributor sells to the dealer.’
I did not have a shop.
‘I am not a dealer!’
‘ Well, as a distributor you can have it at 70% off the price list.’
He has just mistaken my identity.
And, by mistaken identity, I have changed my profession, my life.
Back in Paris, I was told by a big shop’s buyer, friend of a friend, that they can buy 30 of those but only if I have a company, to make an invoice: so I founded one.
Of course, the first year, I was not only its President, but also the buyer, seller, translator, secretary and, even the cleaner. I worked 76 hours a week, but I was happy.
I liked chemistry but I love the ever evolving Personal Computer business.
So, because of a mistaken identity, from employed Research Chemist I become a company founder and Distributor of Personal Computer products.
Thinking back, many of the skills I had for Research, I needed for Distributor too. Discovering new things, researching and translating, making them known.
I also discovered some skills and identities I never knew I had in me: I buying and selling, negotiating and bargaining. We all have in us many skills that come out with time and occasion.