SELLING CARDS FOR CAPTAIN O
It was the fabulous prizes of course that
drew me in. It would be a few years yet before talking to a cute blonde
operator like "Bridget" would have much appeal. But the bike, the tent,
the giant freaking trampoline! I knew I had to have it all. And it meant
I'd have a job. I wanted a job. I was not excelling at school, and I was
already been brainwashed into believing I was meant to be exceptional so I
wanted to get past this school thing and on to the job thing as quickly as
I could. Of course I did, doing well in school wouldn't put a giant
freaking trampoline in your back yard now would it?
At this point in my life I had no peers who read comic books, only my
Grandpa John, who also introduced me to Mad magazine. The ads in comics
seemed like an amazing time machine to a cooler time. None of my friends
knew that they could hatch live pet sea monkeys, see through women's
cloths or earn fabulous prizes! I knew that my dad had all kinds of ways
to make money when he was a kid in New York. He got to do cool things like
shining shoes and selling Ice Cream on the beach. I had long wished for
opportunities like that, but in the purely residential Southern California
suburb where I grew up even lemonade stands suffered from lack of foot
I finished reading my comic, making sure that Conan kicked the werewolf's
ass, and then I called the toll free number. Just dialing the number felt
very adult. I talked with Bridget, or one of her pals and my free sales
kit was on the way. This meant I'd be getting mail! How cool was that?
Mail, coming to the house, for me! I was passing up my older brothers in
giant leaps for sure.
Six to eight weeks was an intolerably long time in those days, but at last
my sales package came.
I tore into it immediately.
This kit was slick and pretty much guaranteed my success. And if the kit
wasn't enough the instructions gave me a little script that made me sound
so pro I was sure I could sell anything. I decided to practice on my mom.
I put on a nice shirt and my best pair of corduroy pants and knocked on
the door to our house.
My mom answered and I gave my speech. "Good
day Ma'am..." I started, and then I went on to explain how convenient I
was making her life allowing her to take care of all her greeting card
needs without leaving her house. My mom wanted to be supportive but the
idea of my going door to door just made her nervous, and I'm sure that, as
excited as I was, she knew I was being scammed. She looked at the cards
regardless, and at first she started warming up to my new endeavor as some
of the cards were cute or pretty. Then came the prices. "Keith! That's
twice what I could buy this stuff for at the store."
I was ready for her. "But mom. You waste gas and time going to the store.
These cards will come right to your house."
My mom warned me that selling these cards at these prices would not be
easy. My three older brothers began arriving home from their hard day of
torturing small animals or some such sadistic play and as they began
taunting my new career. Mom quickly ordered a few sets of cards.
I headed out to make my fortune, not
following my mom's instructions to only knock on the doors of people we
knew. Most folks told me quickly that they were not interested. I knew,
from Captain O's instructions that I had to get the sales book in to their
hands. Captain O might not have experienced screen doors or security
gates. My neighbors would open their door, but there was still the
obstacle of getting them to open the damn screen before I could push my
book into their hands. I was tiring quick. Three house and no sales was
leaving me disillusioned. So, I began skipping straight to the houses of
folks we did indeed know. Maybe mom was right.
Mrs. Gonzales, known to me as Carlos' mom was thrilled to see me. She
brought me in and went over my catalogue carefully, product by product.
She told me again and again how great this was, how much time I was saving
her, how wonderful these cards were. And she ordered a good forty dollars
worth. After at least a half hour of this I was well aware the I was in
the presence of an unbalanced woman. But hey, I was selling merchandise. I
left her house and returned home from a hard days work.
As I entered the house my brothers' taunting started immediately. "Are you
a millionaire now Keith?" "Did you sell all your cards?" Showing them a
big fat check from Mrs. Gonzales only brought more taunts, but only after
a moments hesitation that told me they did think maybe I'd make something
put the check and the order form that I had yet to finish filling out in a
drawer where it would be safe, and I forgot about it. Mrs. Gonzales never
got her cards, I never got my fabulous prizes and Captain O never got his
forty dollars. From time to time I'd remember that package sitting there
and I'd get a head ache. It was my introduction to a special headache that
I'd get to know well as I got older. It's the headache of 'I'm not taking
care of business, and it's stressing me out, but I know that I'm going to
continue to not take care of business.' The first few times I saw Mrs.
Gonzales after that she'd tell me how excited she was that the cards were
coming, but after a while she realized what was up. She didn't give me any
grief about it, but I sensed, or maybe imagined that she had decided I was
no good, a failure, yet another disappointment in her life. My entry into
the work force was a pretty accurate sign of things to come.
I continued to look at the Captain O add and fantasize about those
Keith is a longtime contributor, friend,
and man of many skills. You can read more about the jobs he's had by
visiting his blog, ALL MY JOBS.
Keith also is the man behind
THE PANHANDLING BANANA.
I interviewed Keith last week, and you can listen to it by listening to
PODCAST. It's laugh out loud hilarious.
Also, if you'd like to read more about
Captain O and other comic ads,
CLICK HERE to
check out Matt from X-Entertainment's hot experiences with Bridget the
Get a tiny little ad for just $20 a month! Advertise your site, or
manipulate search engine results! It's your call!
Raceway ATV Kids ATV's
Mable's Unique Gifts