Friday, June 29, 2012

Mitch and Murray Sent Me

Describe myself in six lousy words, huh?  Some years ago, I was in a training to do door-to-door sales.  It wasn’t vacuum cleaners or Veg-O-Matics (and you have to be a certain age to remember those), but I can’t for the life of med remember now what the heck the thing I was supposed to be selling.  Anyway I do recall two bits of memory from that time.  There was a Don Draperish head of sales (a laid back sort of guy actually, definitely not in the Mamet mold of the Glengarry Glen Ross Mitch and Murray sent me go for the jugular type…”What’s my name?  My name is…”)in a pin-striped suit who admonished us young cats when knocking on doors to never if invited in to make your spiel, enter the home of a woman alone.  There was some joking at this point about the allure of the lonely housewife but as this is a family blog, I shall eschew trying to recount such.

Anyway, at some point in this process, which dragged out for several sessions, us would-be Willie Lomans had to take this supposed psychology test to determine out fitness for the gig.  The thing I do remember is the Draper-like guy telling me I got good points for tenacity.  He smiled when he said that.  In the end though, I didn’t wind up shilling whatever the heck it was I was supposed to sell but I do like to think that in all those ensuing years, tenacity has served me well when a book gets rejected, several times, when a story I’ve written comes back with red all over its pages, or when I talk with an editor who sings my praises then never returns my messages afterward. 

Though I will admit there is something to Alec Baldwin's "brass balls" motivational guy in Glengarry Glen Ross that does play in my head when I'm pitching a project that I replay sometimes in my head to pump myself up.  So let’s see, I’d say my six in no particular order are:

Tenacity

Thoroughness

Curiosity

Duty

Skeptical 

ABC -- Always Be Charging (Forward)

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2 comments:

Meredith Cole said...

Those are good skills for most jobs--and for life in general, Gary. Glad you abandoned the sales career and you turned to writing, though...

Gary Phillips said...

These days, Meredith, I'm not sure. Lord knows we have to do a lot of sellng of our work, don't we?