I was milling around in one of the many hang-out areas in the Davos Congress centre that are intermingled among the official session rooms.It was cocktail hour, and it had been a long day, and I was talking to a couple of moguls who, for reasons that will become obvious, must remain nameless.
One of the moguls was holding forth on a variety of subjects in a thick European accent, which, for the same reasons, must remain unspecified.
And suddenly I noticed that the mogul wasn’t looking at me anymore–he was looking past my shoulder.
“Dis guy is an abzolute idiot,” he said. “De verst bunker in de verld.”
I turned around and saw a short, grey-haired man whose face I recognised flowing toward us through the crowd, in the middle of an entourage. I knew his face well, but for a moment I couldn’t place it.
“An abzolute idiot,” the mogul said, shaking his head and hissing in disgust. “De verst bunker in de verld.”
Then, suddenly, it clicked.
The grey-haired man was Jean-Claude Trichet, the head of the European Central Bank, who is shorter than he looks on TV. And the mogul had just dismissed him as “the worst banker in the world.”
Trichet flowed toward us, smiling and nodding at all those who greeted him. In a moment, he brushed past my shoulder and came face to face with the mogul, whose demeanor had suddenly transformed into a picture of welcome.
“Hi, Jean,” my mogul said, with a friendly nod.
Jean-Claude Trichet nodded (and, perhaps, returned the greeting by name–he was beyond me by then), and then passed by us into the crowd.
When those in Trichet’s wake had closed behind him, the mogul looked at me again and shook his head: De verst bunker in de verld.
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