Back in the summer of 1995, a lovely representative of Amway came by my apartment.
Years ago a good friend of mine fell into their clutches and never come back. Once upon a time -- sophomore year 1982 -- my old buddy Mike was a really fun guy. We'd joke about how everyone else were somehow not as cool as we were. We both had mutual sour grapes about not getting into the right cliques, I suppose. After graduation, we lost touch. Fast forward to 1988, when I see Mike as a janitor at a really small graphic design outfit. Eager to reconnect, we quickly exchanged phone numbers. When he came by, I was expecting a return of the good old days. Laughs, comedic/delusional superiority over the crowd and picking up/annoying women were all I cared about, and Madman Mike was the perfect partner in crime. Or so I thought. Instead, I was in for 30 minutes of sociopathic ranting, thinly disguised as friendly chatter.
- Mike: Are you happy with your life right now? Is there something you would like to have, but is financially out of your reach?
- Dave: Mike, this is ME your talking to, remember?
- Mike: Yeah, but just bear with me. I have to tell you about this wonderful business opportunity that changed my life. This company I work for makes these great products, and it really changed my life around. Remember how lost I was in the past?
- Dave: You mean when you were fun?
Needless to say, this did not go over very well. Formerly Madman Mike left and I never saw him again. What struck me hardest was Mike's apparent inability to break out of the shtick and tell me what's up? He and his organization wanted more than just my time. They wanted access to my very personal realm. Anyone who knows me realizes just how rare a commodity that is. I don't just put-out for ANYONE y'know!
I later found out that Amway is a right-wing organization that uses its drones to raise money for a whole political agenda I want nothing to do with. If the foot soldiers were a bunch of morally bankrupt con artists who wanted to push a lot of inferior products on the unsuspecting public to make a fast buck, I would understand. The organization, however, wants its soldiers to be completely brainwashed, obedient and absolutely unable to think on their own or stray from the company line. They ain't crooks; they be ROBOTS.
Which brings me to 1995. Kathy, a co-worker of my sister, managed to get my phone number. She called last night, wanting to share "a unique business opportunity" with me. Hmmm. Always needing a fast buck myself, I agreed to have her come over tonight, thinking, "If it doesn't work out, she may be a babe."
Turns out this was strictly business:
- Kathy: Are you going to be an artist for the rest of your life? Is this something that you enjoy?
- Dave: Whaaa?
- Kathy: Are you happy with your life right now? Is there something you would like to have, but is financially out of your reach?
- Dave: Listen, you said this was a business proposal. I draw pictures for a living. Is there something specific that I can do for you?
- Kathy: I am trying to tell you about the business, but I need to find out a few things about you first.
- Dave (beginning to smell a rat with an Amway logo tattooed on its ass): You are asking personal questions that are, frankly, none of your business. I draw pictures for a living. Is there something specific that I can do for you?
- Kathy (beginning to burst into tears): I'm sorry to get you all nervous.
- Dave: No, you are not making me nervous. You're annoying me; there is a difference. Hey, if you're looking for a professional artist, I'm your man. I will listen to you all night. Can you tell me about the organization you are representing?
- Kathy (still crying. What a trooper): No, I can't. Not until I find out a few things about you.
- Dave: That ain't gonna happen.
I tried to address her obviously hurt feelings without spending all night listening to them. She refused my feeble attempts at small talk and left. Total time: 10 minutes. Was I out of line? What would YOU have done in my place? For myself, I wonder if an Amway-specific restraining order is possible.
Your buddy Dave, with MassArt blood still running through my veins