I ran into someone who’s always working a scheme. They’re always of the get rich quick variety yet, more often than not, end as a make his wife sick variety. He’s not a bad guy nor is he lazy (if he spent as much time working as trying to cash in he’d be an asset to any company). He’s just, how do I put this delicately? Gullible? Delusional? Oh, wait, got it. Fucking stupid.
For every ponzi, pyramid, pathetic scheme he latches onto all he has to show for it is fourteen friends who’ve changed their number and a six month supply of ass cream in his garage. His garage looks like the museum of failed scams.
I’ll admit to going out of my way to avoid him when he’s in the flush of a new stratagem. It’s not that I don’t want him to succeed it’s just that every time he’s on the upside of the endeavor I just want to take him to his garage and rub his nose in all the shit on display.
“Bad dummy! Bad! Bad, dummy!”
But that’s not my place.
That’s more of a divorce judges function.
He comes into my office dejected. His latest sensation, a mall kiosk that sold computer generated etchings of loved ones on the tunic of an acrylic bobblehead Jesus closed due to, in his words,
“The shitty economy.”
“I don’t know. You may be underestimating the creepiness of a see-through son of gawd.”
I can see the resignation in his face. It’s not the first time he’s heard something like that, I’m sure. It’s also near the time when he’s coming to the conclusion he’s going to need a larger garage.
He asks me what I’m up to so I do the latest bits from here. After I’ve done about twenty minutes he asks what I’ve really been up to. I know he’s not asking about yard work or personal stuff. After a failure he usually comes by to see if I’m working on anything that’ll snap him from his doldrums.
I tell him I’m not doing anything. I completed a big project, tossed out a book that was dropped, but nothing else. I don’t have any projects. Sure, I have my own things I should be working on, a greeting card company asked for some things, spec things but, the truth is, since the big project ended, I haven’t picked up any more work and I’m just not in the mood to work on my own stuff.
“Not you, Chris!” He says reminding me of the kid who came up to Shoeless Joe Jackson.
“Yeah,” I admit. “I haven’t even written any new t-shirts.”
As truthful as that is, he won’t believe it. Why would I lie? Right now I’m just a productive member of society from sunup to sundown. I don’t have any new ideas but I do have less ambition. It’s like when people come up and I don’t make them laugh. They always think something’s wrong. There never is. Sometimes, as I always tell them,
“I just don’t feel fucking funny.”
But this guy won’t take that there is absolutely nothing going on. No secret or non-secret projects. Nothing other than being a normal, work-a-day member of society. And this seems to depress him. Which depresses me. Not because I’ve let him down. Because I didn’t get to tear him apart to accomplish it.
So I decide to cheer him up. String him along. Tell him I’m hard at work on something. I just didn’t want to tell him because it’s so early in the development phrase. He tells me he knew it! He knew I was trying to pull a fast on over on him! He knew better! He now demands to know what this secret project is.
I need to think of something but what? It has to be something so patently absurd, so market bereft, maybe even a little insulting, that even this guy, who’s never seen a multi-level marketing scheme he didn’t like, would have to see through.
“I’m working with a guy to design and market yarmulkes that look like a bald spot.”
For a moment I think I have him. So I pour a little more into it.
“We’re going to have many different hair colors and baldness types. It’ll seem invisible on bald people and those with full heads of hair can see what they’re in store for.”
Now I’ve come up with some stupid ideas in the name of comedy (like the hamster ball playpen for babies) but this has to be another one. I watch him waiting for the moment when rational people look at me and say,
“Stop being a retard, ya fucking moron!”
But it never came.
Well, he does have the mall kiosk for another two months.