Become a Fan
By Jack Kuperman
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Rated "G" by the Author.
I was lucky.
Three hours fligt near a sneezing lady in the row before me or near the youngster, never stopping to jump in his place across the aisle, those could be my worst hours. But my luck inserted an intelligently looking man into a seat next to mine.
My New York adventure was suddenly substituted by a flight to Vienna food fair. I felt bad because of it, but couldn't argue with my boss. Yet, sitting near a boring person during the flight could bring my mood to really low level.
So, I was glad when about ten minutes into a flight, after all the important "new" anouncements of the airplane personnel, the man near me introduced himself and we began to chat.
My neighbour's name was Abraham and he had a hobby of collecting stories connected to people's professions. He took a notebook with dog-eared pages from his coat pocket and opened the first page.
"Last year I met an insurance man. I do not want to use his real name, therefore I will call him Michael. He was quite a successful dealer. But he wanted to be even better. Michael insured his family, his friends, and friends of his friends. He used to wander in some neighborhood, knock on the doors and offer insurance.
When he conversed with people, he waited for them to say a magic word 'insurance', and then, as if by the way, just to continue the conversation, he would begin to talk about insurance.
Michael got so much business this way, that he slowly began talking on insurance even when he heard words 'security', sure ', 'surely'.
Later on, he began to use words 'promise', 'agreement', 'theft', 'pension', 'salary', 'work' as a trigger for insurance sell.
Slowly he arrived to use even words 'yes' and 'not' for his purpose.
The business flourished. He had the ability of good persuasion, and after an hour or two of speech, the customer would have surrendered. But Michael never took prisoners, he went for the kill - five minutes later he would prepare a policy and make the victim sign it.
But as the time passed, people learned that is very costly to use some words near him. The most careful persons were, of course, those who already have bought from Michael policies of life (single men), apartment (living in hired apartments), car (biking to the work because there was no money for anything better), business (in spite of being unemployed) .
It was very difficult to speak without using trigger words, but people found tricks just not to use them. "I'm going to the work" would become "I'm going to the place where I make money for my living. "Surely you know" changed to "It couldn't be that you don't know" or "You should know". "Security in my life" came to be nothing, as people didn't want even to hint about it.
Michael saw this and changed his tactics - he began to use new words for his "insurance" speech. Words, having the same beginning as his speech word.
At the beginning those were 'insulin', 'insult', instant coffee.
But then, even words beginning with 'in' were enough: " What did you say? That this is inaccurate? By the way, For sure you've noticed that inaccurate starts with 'in' just like insurance? And if we already speak about it, Did you know that the best insurance for..."
Even when people ceased to use words starting with the forbidden letters, Michael would start "insurancely" speaking even if you've said "in" in the middle of the word.
In short, people used to see Michael and turn backwards. But then he would run after them. If you saw somebody running but not jogging, you could bet that they were not chasing a bus. Most probably they were chasing some faraway place away from our hero.
I am sure, (Oh, how good that Michael doesn't hear this,) that if death will come to for him, even then he will try to sell a life insurance."
I sat in the armchair in the living room at Abraham's and I thought about Michael, insurance man. Chill passed through me, feet getting ready to run.
Abraham continued: "I'll answer you unasked question. Yes, he made out an insurance for me - as the matter of fact, three times. But forget about him."
"Once I met a computer man. We will call him also Michael.
He was very successful in his profession. But didn't succeed too much with women. He used to sit the whole day near his computer and type. In the evening, sometimes, he would go out and meet a girl.
He would tell her: "What a pretty girl you are! Really like Java's last version. And your speech, it really reminds me the beauty of C++. And this hardware suits you very much… Oh, I mean the dress."
Once he succeeded to talk like a regular person, and in the end of the day arrived to her home. After several drinks they entered the bedroom. He stripped. Started to strip her. Michael was very was excited, laid her on the back, and… started to tick on her tits."
I started to laugh. - "And how she reacted?"
"Hah! She liked it very much. As the matter of fact, Michael uses this method of stimulation up to-day. Yes, what a shrewd guy…
But someone else, let's call him Michael, experienced something less pleasant.
Michael was a gymnastics teacher in the school. When he and the girl came to the bed, he wanted to lay her straight away. But the girl said that she is not hot enough. Do you know what Michael did?
He removed her from bed and started to do heating exercises: pushups, running in the place. He even took her out to run around the block. At the beginning she did this with a smile, but later she got upset and stopped. After Michael told her that if she wouldn't continue exercising, he will send her to the principal, she threw him from the house."
This time I burst with laugh. Abraham calmed me as he could and continued.
"Did you hear a story about the barber who began his working life as a gardener? Well I've heard and even knew him. Call him-"
"-Michael!" I inserted.
"Do you know him?"
"No. But please continue"
"Well. Michael worked with a famous hairdresser. Once, there arrived a customer requesting something different.
Michael erected her hair and cut... a form of… elephant. But very quickly it became clear that what is good for a bush, isn't necessary good for a woman's head."
I sat in the armchair and thought that it's good that Michael didn't cut a form of a snake. How it goes in Greece stories: Medusa with snakes instead her hair. Frightful.
Abraham told me about Michael the writer who before it was a major sergeant, and who yelled at his written characters.
He told about a seller who was the buyer for a large firm prior to this. His name was also Michael and he always argued wheather it's worh to buy from himself.
The day began to end. (Most probably the sun by name Michael was a starter beforehand and didn't know how to end.)
Suddenly I heard Abraham turned to me. Remaining true to himself, he asked: "Tell me Michael" (and it didn't matter to him that my name wasn't Michael) what do you do?"
To say the truth, I was afraid to tell him my real story. Wouldn't you be too?
I rose and went to the stuardess. All I wanted to ask her was to stop the plane and let me get down.
But she didn't agree.
With my head down, I went slowly back to my slaughter place near Abraham.
Then a thought passed through my tired mind - I could flight to New York instead of Vienna now. Then it would be seven hours flight. I began to laugh.
I am lucky after all.