A Mentor Speaks

Is it expensive, this thing I do? Of course it’s expensive. Excellence doesn’t come cheap in this world, and business excellence is especially costly. I figure I drop thirty grand a year on this maneuver, easy, but let me tell you, you can’t put a price on the effect. Five years ago I was just like you, clinging sadly to hopelessly outdated business tips like the one I just watched you put into practice down on the third floor. Don’t get me wrong, you aced the first part of it---that bit of insight about the #7 green streamers being no better than the #3 reds was top-flight smack talk---and you left them impressed all right, walking off like that without another word, letting them watch you go in admiration. A near-perfect execution of the classic leave-‘em-wanting-more ploy. But until you’ve walked off into a shroud of mist, you haven’t really walked off, and I don’t care how much money I have to dole out, the staff of Lidmarket Party Paper Limited is going to watch me walk off into a shroud of mist after every single meeting, hallway exchange, and water cooler encounter until the day they bury my bones beneath the Toshiba printer in the conference room. Did you see the way I walked off into a shroud of mist after I delivered those sales figures during the Zang's Confetti Zone conference call? Darla’s mouth may have been absolutely agape at my silent, confident exit, but without that wet, almost sensual mist enveloping me, I would have been just another shlump who happened to get off one good line and was only headed down the hall toward the can like everyone else. It was the mist, man, the mist. I’ve been spending Tuesday nights tinkering with the new machine I leased, trying to make it a little quieter---I’ll grant you that the whirring and clanking of the gears lessens the effect a little, and losers like Dibbit Moyes are apt to laugh if you give the slightest indication you've heard the noise. There’s also an English Moors setting on this thing which I’ve been dying to try out; I’ve had it set on Morning in San Francisco since the Pembleford Ribbons ‘n’ Bows meeting---you know, the one where Davis asked me if I was bringing the Easter collage project under budget and I totally devastated him with that Excel spreadsheet and then just turned and walked away. I could have used a little more mist that time, maybe, but people got the point and the awe factor definitely kicked in before the mist dispersed and it just got kind of moist in here. I swear to God, you haven’t disappeared with an impressive air of mystery until you’ve disappeared with an impressive air of mystery generated by the sweet, reliable engine core of the Enswirler 650. That’s right, pal, it’s the same machine they used to generate the mist for the night scenes in Troll 2. So do yourself a favor, man, throw away that Dale Carnegie book and your copy of The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People and scrape together $800 for a down payment on one of these babies. You start disappearing into, say, two shrouds of medium-density mist a week in this office, you’re looking at a VP slot within three years. Oh, I know, I know, Effective Exits Monthly claims that for the middle manager, disappearing into the strobe-lit blaring of techno music packs more business punch for the buck, but to me, that’s pure overkill. I go classy everywhere I work, man. Ask me sometime about some of the image stuff I pulled off at Arthur Treacher's. They’re still talking about me back there. Used to call me The Rubber Inferno for reasons I never quite understood, but I was known, dude. And that’s what the crazy game of business is all about.

Hey, have you heard about this NetFlix thing? What is that, anyway? They send you a movie and you have to take it to a recycling center when you’re done, right? Yeah, like I have time to drive all around Wisconsin trying to find a recycling center. God, these tree huggers tick me off. But I really do want to see season six of Falcon Crest at some point. It’s been a while, but I seem to recall some scene where some chick throws something at some dude and he has to duck. How crazy is that?