Partner, oppo, associate, teammate, companion. Over time I have had many, for differing reasons, of multiple vagaries, various purposes, each and every social, ethnic, gender and moral persuasion, many irreplaceable, some decidedly forgettable, always different, ever presently imperative, individuals who shared, altered, directed my efforts, ideals, considerations far beyond the point I am ever comfortable admitting.
When we talk about influences we are inclined to list, events, happenstances, personal decisions, measured or involuntary reactions, seldom do we mention the degree our collaborators enlighten, shape, guide, foster our behaviors. Perhaps it reflects supposed individualism, a pride in independent thought and concept, or simply a wish to claim all we are for our own aggrandizement, hoisting our undeniable smallness upon a flimsy petard. I suffer such failing with you all, am inclined to bloviate singularly, but in secrecy recognize the pull, the control, influence, power, of a thousand good, bad, and indifferent exemplars.