1987, I was hired as an Administrative Assistant in the Promotions
Department at Warner/ Elektra/ Atlantic Records in Burbank. I
was 20 years old and had just moved all by myself from San Diego
to the big city to study design at Art Center. In truth, I was
pretty much a naive child who was on her own for the first time
in life. Skid Weiss was one of my very first bosses, and in retrospect
became one of the biggest inspirations in my life.
body was riddled with Multiple Sclirosis. He had a wheelchair,
but would only use it as a chair or as a walker when he needed
to go somewhere. He refused to wheel around in it, but never complained.
I noticed that many people didn't take him very seriously. It
seemed obvious to them that he was just someone obsolete that
nobody had the heart to fire. He was a lot more.
became my friend. Some mornings he would even surprise me with
little notes on the notepads on
my desk. Every day I would sit in Skid's office & eat lunch
with him. He had a strict diet to follow, but he would beg me
to bring him Taco Bell tacos & pastrami sandwiches which I
often did... usually after a fight which he won by reminding me
that he was my boss. You've never seen anyone enjoy a taco so
much though. During
our many hours together, he would ask me about myself and tell
me stories about his life, the family he adored, and how excited
he was about "the technology of the future" (most of
which I'd ever heard of before).
had gotten the nickname "Skid" because he ran fast as
a child. His family was "typical working class Brooklyn."
Part of his college tuition was paid for by a job as a sparring
partner in a NYC boxing gym ("they paid me to beat me up"),
another part by an anonymous donation which he attributed to a
mobster (long story).
his 20's, Skid wanted to be a "P.R. man," but decided
that he needed a gimmick. His answer? The acquisition of a live
duck (named Mr. Waddles, if I recall) that he brought with him
to Manhattan parties decked in a bowtie, gaining himself a new
nickname: "The Shmuck with the Duck." In his office,
was a big picture of them together. His
stories went on forever & each one was more outrageous than
the last. It seemed like there was no end to them. He had even
been a ghostwriter on Fantasy Island.
views of the future were radical, and he was passionate about
them. He enthusiastically told me his elaborate tales of "virtual
reality," 3-D games, computers communicating through phone
lines, descriptions of an internet, and tiny phones that would
fit in your pocket. I remember responding, "Why would I want
a phone in my pocket? Who wants to be on-call for people all day?"
It all sounded like science fiction to me in 1987. I just thought
they were fun stories from Skid's amazing brain.
web site is and will always be dedicated to Skid Weiss, since
he passed away long before he could have his own.