Rejecting the idea of becoming the academic or teacher his degree has prepared him for, he returns to DC and takes up cab driving. He likes the easy money—and the fact that so much of it goes directly into his pocket.
But Cabbie Fry is animated by something larger than money. A philosophy. As a libertarian, he sees driving a cab as affording him more freedom than any career he can fathom doing. He isn’t simply piloting a car; he’s expressing his individuality.
He’s also drinking. Heavily. A friend says, “You’re not gonna live to see 30.”
He lives to see 30, becomes Businessman Fry. He starts one of DC’s first successful courier companies, makes a pile of money, sells the business.
“You’re not gonna make it to 50 if you keep this up,” his doctor brother tells him. Fry is 47.
He’s sitting in Shea Stadium, watching the ’86 World Series, Red Sox versus Mets, when a friend saves his life. If you had to pay more for the stuff, he says, you wouldn’t drink it like water. You need to start sipping.
Because Fry does nothing halfway, he plunges into the world of bourbon and Scotch and cognac. More than learning what he likes and doesn’t, he learns the language of that world, its systems of codification. He creates another, more sustainable self: Collector Fry.
Next: The strange similarities between Bill Thomas and Harvey Fry