Jeff and MacKenzie announced the terms of their divorce on Twitter this week in two simultaneous statements. When I wrote about it yesterday, I now think I may have missed something intriguing.
First, the background. It's fascinating and admirable that the Bezoses worked through their agreement so quickly:
- MacKenzie keeps 25 percent of their Amazon stock (which works out to something like $35 billion).
- Jeff keeps the remaining 75 percent of the Amazon stock, plus the voting power of MacKenzie's shares, plus their interests in The Washington Post and Blue Origin.
When I wrote yesterday, I pointed out three things that I found unusual -- but endearing -- in the statements:
- They posted the statements almost simultaneously.
- They used the same word, "grateful" twice each, which set the tone of the whole thing in a very positive way.
- They each wrote the exact same length: 93 words.
That last detail caught me. Why would they write 93 words each. Could it possibly be a coincidence? Hmmm.
I'd only noticed this because I had to retype the statements into a text document. Being a word nerd, I also noticed that MacKenzie Bezos's statement (embedded at the end of this article) doesn't include many first person pronouns.
For example, she writes: "Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff..." instead of "I'm grateful to have finished...."
Actually every sentence is like that.
I know people sometimes skip first person pronouns, and Twitter is informal, etc. But if she had included all the "I am" clauses, the statements would be uneven. She'd have more than 93 words.
Okay, this was really weird. I didn't want to be known as a "Bezos Divorce Tweet Truther." But was there something going on here? Did they agree on 93 words exactly?
And if so, why that number?
September 4, 1993
Then, a reader emailed me with an observation: "the obvious symbolism of the 93 words is they were married in '93."
Oh wow. The reader, who didn't want to be identified, is right at least about the date. The Bezoses were married on September 4, 1993.
As for the theory? Who could know? So I emailed the Amazon press office along with Jeff Bezos directly. His email reportedly is simply email@example.com.
I haven't heard back. I tried firstname.lastname@example.org as well, because why not? But it bounced back.
So I can't confirm this "93-words-for-1993" theory, obviously. All I can do is put these intriguing facts in front of you, and share what I think of them.
My response is that if it's true, it's poignant and beautiful. The writer in me likes to think it's a communication in a shared voice, going beyond the text itself.
It leaves me thinking about what was, what might have been, and what their relationship will be going forward.
Suspend your disbelief
Suspend your disbelief for just a second. Accept that it's probably just a coincidence but then allow yourself to imagine what it means if it wasn't.
Imagine if during the chaos of what could have been one of the most contentious and costliest divorces in history, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos quickly reached an agreement -- not just on the big things, but on the little things, down to the length of their joint statement.
Suspend that disbelief just a bit longer, and ask yourself if it's possible they chose 93 words for this special, sentimental reason.
Put that with their repeated symmetrical use of the word, "grateful," and of the repeated phrases in each statement: "friends and co-parents," and "co-parents an friends."
Add to it how they both agreed with the language in MacKenzie's post, where she says she's "[h]appy to be giving Jeff all of my interests in The Washington Post and Blue Origin and 75% of our Amazon stock."
Emphasis added there, since this phrasing is instead of Jeff saying he's giving something to MacKenie, or them both saying they were splitting the assets. It's MacKenzie giving what she owns to Jeff. That's powerful.
I'm impressed. I'm a filled with a bit of awe. And, I find myself offering them both condolences and congratulations on the whole situation.