Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ben vs. Prison, Round 2

Odd Encounter of the Week: an increasingly less odd encounter

I wore my Tar Heel t-shirt to work Monday morning. The really obnoxious one that's all blue with the huge interlocking NC on the front. When put over a large light source, I imagine this shirt would work similarly to the Bat Signal. We could have used this Sunday night. We sure needed a superhero those last 12 minutes.

I had worn this same attire after the Heels had beaten Duke and after their victorious sprint through the ACC Tournament. Many customers ribbed me, "You wouldn't be wearing that shirt if they had lost!" Well, they lost Sunday night, so I wore the shirt, not to support my school, mind you, but to prove all those customers wrong. Ha!

So after work, I go to the grocery to get my domestic on as I'm wont to do this days. As I push my burdened cart full of cereal, Coca-Cola Zero, and frozen chicken to my car, a voice stops me.

"Way to rock the shirt, man. Loyal to your team."

The mid-20's male driver of a nice black car (don't know what type; I'm not a car guy) has stopped in the middle of the parking lot to encourage me. He is in a lot of people's ways but sits indifferently nonetheless. How precious. Turns out he is an Ohio St. fan from Michigan who went to Notre Dame, so his team is still alive (and how could it not be with three choices!). He repeats that he finds it impressive I am "loyal to [my] team." After a little small talk about basketball and jobs, I am ready to disengage and go home. Adam will not allow this though. He has not fulfilled his purpose.

"I work for this marketing firm. Well, not exactly. I work for myself. If you're looking for something. . . ."

I must look gullible. Either that or ambitious. I seem to attract these fellas who have found easy, though potentially illegal, ways to make lots of money and drive nice cars. For those of you new to "Redeeming Prufrock," I met a similarly-minded gentleman in Target my first week in Charlotte way back in September. I was looking for a can-opener. He was looking for a hand-held ice crusher. It seemed like destiny that we should be together. Until I told him I was not interested in his marketing "pyramid," and we went our separate ways, me afraid, him disappointed.

Adam talks fast so I did not have a chance to let him know I had been through this before. He hands me his business card, which, like the one I received in September, has a website and a password. I do not know why a marketing website needs a password. Unless something exists on it which you desire some people not to see. Maybe one day "Redeeming Prufrock" will be dangerous enough to merit a password. But I hope not.

Adam e-mails me later that night trying to set up a time and a place to meet. I reply that I have experienced this process before and discovered that money does not motivate me enough to take a job that I do not want and could potentially land me in the slammer (though I did not tell him this last part). He implicitly calls me a liar: "If money doesn't motivate you then why do you chase a pay check around every week? Actually you just stated the complete opposite."

Free advice of the week: When trying to convince someone to do something you want them to do, refrain from calling them a liar. It does not go over well.

Thus ended our interaction.

In hindsight, it all makes some sense. Perhaps I do not appear greedy, ambitious, or gullible. Perhaps Adam was simply drawn to my loyalty to my team. You know, the kind of loyalty it takes to refrain from ratting out teammates in an illegal pyramid marketing scam when being questioned by the authorities.

So the pyramiders came after me again, this time utilizing the powers of sports and flattery. They are beginning to know me all too well. Yet, once again I succeeded in fighting off them and their promises of Duck Talesian financial gain. Once again, I dodged the slammer.

For all you keeping score at home, that would be:

Ben: 2 Prison: 0

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