Dear Uncle Larry and Aunt Bea,

It's been a hard weekend, which is the only excuse I have for not answering your email sooner. I'm sure the May 9 date will work out fine for the barbecue. I don't have anything planned for that week, or the week before. Or the week after, for that matter, although I do have a couple of interviews for excellent management positions in a number of very attractive companies, none of which have anything to do with cars, I'm happy to say. I've just about had enough of the automobile business, I can tell you that!

You're right, though. That phone call from Mr. Ratner was a little tough to take. I remember Steve when he was a young reporter for The New York Times, and now he's, like, the big boss of everybody I know.

It's kind of creepy, if you ask me. You're sitting there with a nice plate of ham and eggs on a weekend morning and there's this fellow on the telephone telling you that you've been fired. It was weird. Kind of a take-it-or-leave-it thing.

Like, either I leave or the company doesn't get the $16 billion. Talk about a no-brainer. Not that I didn't think about it for a few minutes.

My first reaction was to run through all the good friends and allies I've built up in the company and the industry after all my years of service, and wonder what kind of push-back they were going to make on my behalf. That didn't take long. Then I said, OK.

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