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Who Did What Blurb
This whole monstruousity was originally conveived
February through March 2001 by the members of The Big Note - a Frank Zappa
YahooGroup. After an arduous gestation period, this site was birthed on
April 11 2001. True to the essence of collaborative effort, these people
are held responsible.
© TheBigNote 2001-2004
unless specified otherwise.
Speed will turn you into your parents.
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Man of the Year
The struggling, young, independent, book peddler - with infected belly laugh - had just been named Time Magazine's Man of the Year. No one was happier than I.
Just 18 months before, the SYIBP - let's call him Jeff - called me, and wanted to meet at one of the local Turkish Baths to discuss "where his head was at." I agreed with trepidation. I knew full well that Jeff secretly coveted the fact that my bookselling business was (and is) showing a profit while his enterprise...well...let's just say, "It had (and has) a ways to go"...and leave it politely at that.
Jeff was in a funk. And I could sense that being surrounded by a bunch of naked and more "substantial" book dealers wasn't going to do his self-esteem any good. I suggested a ride around town in my mini-van. As we toured the rain-splattered streets of our Norwegian-dappled town, Jeff looked positively negative.
Seeking a way to snap him out of his funk, I told him a tale of how the British romantic watercolorist, J.M.W. Turner used to seek inspiration for his paintings by having himself tied to the mast of a sailing vessel that was heading out toward stormy seas. Jeff understood immediately what I was suggesting, and instinctively lowered the passenger window of the minivan, and craned his head out of the car like a golden retriever - his tongue flapping in the breeze.
"Look-at Me!" He shouted. "I'm catching raindrops!!!"
We drove and we drove and we drove.
After his spirits were suitably lifted, I ordered him to stick his head back in the van, tossed him a pub towel, and began to level with him in a way that most men find difficult to do with another man. I looked him straight in the eyes and told him that he shouldn't worry about what "endowments" other people, or companies, might have.
"Jeff... Profit-size isn't everything." I said. "What you should do, my friend, is come up with story that you can give the media and your Wall Street investors, and then just stick to the story no matter how deep in the red you go." The look of bewilderment on his face was palpable.
It was at that moment he realized that he'd forgotten to put his clothes on when we'd left the Turk's. He hung his head low in embarrassment. I tried to comfort him by saying: Jeff, it's no biggie." But this just made him feel worse.
Tears started to well up in his eyes. Well...underneath his eyes - in the moistening pockets of flesh making up what is commonly referred to as the lower eyelid.
I'm always uncomfortable around grown-ups in distress (That's why I'm always on vacation when my employees get their bonus checks). He stuttered and stammered and shifted phlegm around on part of his mouth to another for a few moments before coming up with what he wanted to say: "Do ...you...have...any...ideas...about what I can say to people who want to invest in a company that is losing billions?"
I patted his hairless thigh. (I wanted to tell him that I thought it might be a good idea for him to spend less time at the Turkish Baths, and more time at the gym trying to put some definition into those pathetic little triceratops muscles, but I bit my tongue.)
Jeff looked at me, bewildered.
"I bit my tongue!" I explained.
Jeff looked at me, studying the shadows coalescing amongst the curves (concave and convex) of my face in the muted light of the overcast skies. Several more minutes passed without either of us making a sound.
Finally, when the throbbing in my tongue subsided, I continued with my advice. "Yes, Jeff, I do know what you should say. Tell the media that you are putting the customers ahead of the stock market speculators. Tell them that you are the world's first 'CUSTOMER-CENTRIC' company."
It was at that moment that Jeff laughed the famous laugh. People in the media ALWAYS refer to it as a belly laugh, but I can ASSURE you, it starts lower than that - at the base of his left testicle. It's a slight quiver; then, a shake. Then the right one starts shaking, too. Then his pee-pee starts shimmy-shimmy-shaking... And so on.
But his weird little laugh started to bother me. I wondered which cleaning products would work best on erasing testicular perspiration from leather.
I decided to kick his skinny, white ass out the door. He didn't mind getting the heave-ho. I think he was used to it. Watching his scrawny, 2-snowballs-for-a-butt quivering and shaking as he scampered down the street from doorway to doorway I began to smile. Do you know why I was smiling?
It's because his bottom-line was constantly fluctuating. Thus it was. Thus it ever will be. "Jeff," I said to myself, using my soft, bemused inner-voice (very reminiscent of the guy who does the voice-overs in the Pepperidge Farm commercials), "you're gonna be alright." And he was.
From that day forward Jeff began chanting what has become known as the Amazon mantra. You all know it. I don't need to repeat it.
And today he is Time Magazine's "Man of the Year."
God bless you, Jeff. (And your investors.) It's a funny old world, indeed.
Glands of Destiny: The Other White Meat
More Glands Of Destiny?