I was asked a week ago if I’d be willing to handle and manage all of a person’s Christmas shopping. The man that asked me is an acquaintance, but knows me well enough that he should never take me too seriously. Needless to say he’s a little more gullible than I’d realized. Also needless to say I took advantage.
In true Gary fashion I took their silliness to the next level by acting seriously interested in this idea. I don’t think he knew how to respond, partially because my answer was stupid enough to cause pause (Cause Pause -- great '90s band name right there) and partially because the look on my face was akin to that of the mutey looking kid on the Kumon signs around town. As ridiculous as it seems, I might have looked genuine. Or maybe just stupid.
Clearly shaken, he then said, “I’ll need a resume. You know, to be fair.” His tone was still a bit satirical but I pushed on.
“Definitely. I can provide you a resume this afternoon. It’s kind of unpolished because I’m still learning how to use a computer, but I totally promise that I’m your man. I’ll make sure no one is unhappy with this season, and that includes you, Mojambo.”
Mojambo is what I call people when I want to sound both relaxed and up to the task, as it were.
As it was, I said all of this with the faux-confidence that a child might use when telling his parents that he does want to see a Freddy Kruger movie and that he is not afraid of stuff like that anymore. I was convincingly convinced they were not yet convinced. But we were getting closer.
“Seriously. Let me do this one thing for you and you’ll see. I think we might be able to form a mutually beneficial holiday-based partnership.”
Still he was baffled by my inability to get a joke, but I could see too that he was starting to believe that maybe I was an ignoramus, a buffoon and not a trickster. That would be awkward. That would be weird. That would be…perfect.
“Do you have any references?” he asked. “I would probably need a good reference or two if I’m going to trust you with my money and a list of my children’s names.” It was still a little sardonic, but there was a thin edge of bewilderment skirting his voice. I knew he was awaiting either the relief that comes with the completion of a confusing joke or confirmation that I was in fact “as crazy as my Aunt Carroll.”
Jokes on all of you, because I don’t have an Aunt Carroll! Anyway.
“Well, it’s a long story.” I said convincingly. “I do have references, but they asked to remain anonymous for legal reasons. Nothing shady, just cautiousness. You know: identity theft and stuff. Twenty-first century blues, am I right?”
This was a risk, but it paid off. The potential for him to finally see through the ruse was certainly there, but so was the potential to seal the deal and lead him to believe he was talking to a certified numbskull.
“Oh. Oh,” he whispered to himself. “You’re ******* *** **** crazy,” he didn't say at all. But he thought it; he thought it. “Well, get me your resume I guess. I’ll have my wife look it over with me and if you’re the right person for the job we’ll let you know.”
The sound of utter flatness hugged his words. This man is a man, not a child, yet he was playing a game and had no idea. Either that or he’s a genius and I was being played. Probably not that though, because I am captain of the smart bus and he is not.
To show him that I was pleased with his decision but also to ensure that the crazy was real enough indeed, I dropped this little jewel then shook hands with him before leaning back on my heals, giving the double finger-guns (complete with mouthed gun sounds) then turning to leave. I don’t know this, but I’m assuming he pooped a little as he walked away, finally able to relax.
After a few hours this is the text I received:
“Gary, we thank you for your resume. Clearly you’re qualified for the job but we were able to find someone with equal qualifications that was willing to work on commission basis. Since you seemed adamant about your hourly rate our decision made sense from a fiscal standpoint. However, should we ever need your services we will pull up your saved resume and contact you. –Hot Dog Wilson”
First of all, his name isn't Hot Dog Wilson, but if I could change my name to anything it would probably be Hot Dog Wilson. It’s just a great, solid American name.
Secondly, yes this kind of really happened. I attached the resume I’d given Mr. Wilson to show you that I took this to an appropriately ridiculous level and won. I played my best version of my worst self and probably gave an acquaintance reason to be concerned for my mental health, but I won a game that at least one of us knew we were playing.
It was awesome.