Good Morning Creatures of Nostalgic Bliss,
I wrote this in 2008 at a point in my life where it couldn’t possibly get worse! Or could it?:
Every now and again life’s rich pageant slips in an unannounced change in the script altering the main character’s direction even if only briefly. I was working in one of my desperate jobs for survival, when my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number on caller ID and given the constant haranguing of bill collectors normally I’d let it go to voicemail to be deleted later. But this time I felt compelled to answer sensing it was going to be a different kind of call, so I said hello.
To my utter disbelief it was Howard Rappaport! Howie as he likes to be called now for some ungodly reason used to be called “Rapp” king of the one call closers! Twenty years ago I hired Rapp as one of my salesmen at a large lawn care company. I certainly didn’t hire him based on his dress or appearance. He sat before me in a golf shirt two sizes too small for his extra-large body, a pair of tennis shoes held together with only a few strands of canvas and laces that wrapped around the entire shoe! He probably started shaving when he was 10 years old and has one of those beards that grow faster than you can cut it down. He looked as though he hadn’t showered in several days at best, but told me he’d been working straight commission selling meat door to door.
I hired him immediately.
He was to start training the next day and shook my hand telling me I wouldn’t regret it. That wasn’t always true as I did question my decision a few times during our association, but overall he was a damn fine salesman. I watched him go out the door and jump into a raggedy Volkswagon Micro-bus that must have burned two quarts of oil per day.
Howie described the torturous process of how he found me and began to tell me how much I influenced him in those days and even quoted the sales mantra drilled into all my sales people; Pause, Agree, Story, Close! He even went as far as to give me credit for his successful career in sales over the years then asked me what I was doing. I dreaded this inevitable question as he left the impression he’d reached the Promised Land because he kept referring to his living on an island in Florida. He wanted to make sure I understood he was living on an island in Florida! After all that I couldn’t possibly tell him his long time hero and mentor was contemplating suicide hopping from one failure to the next so I lied.
The rest of my day collapsed around me like a house of cards. I sank into my chair not believing what had just happened. I longed for those days when nobody and I mean Nooo Body could say no to me. There was a time when my services were worth money! I was a God!
Those of us predisposed to self-absorption, morosity, and desperation and feel there is nothing more to say must realize these are the first manifestations of clinical depression. A state of desolation and physical malaise soon takes over leaving us bastards with no choice but to become wards of the state mumbling how life is so unfair!
This is not how I envisioned things twenty years ago but rarely do plans turn out the way we’d hoped so let’s snap out of it! Then I thought about the phone call from “Howie” I remembered that his primary motivation was not to re-establish our lost connection, rather hit me up to invest in some network marketing scam! All the talk about me being his mentor and hero was nothing more than bluster and bullshit merely a diversionary tactic to facilitate the sale! I have to hand it to you ‘Howie’ it was a creative pitch. But honestly my friend, you must be running out of people to engage if you had to reach this far back to think of ole zuki. You must be in danger of losing your island home in Florida; those sub-prime mortgages are HELL aren’t they?
I must have been temporarily insane to let some moron put me into such agony. So for the two or three of you reading this self-prognosis let this be a lesson to you. “Sometimes the mind, for reasons we don’t necessarily understand, just decides to go to the store for a quart of milk.”