Friday, April 7, 2023

You Can Call Me... Elmer (Part One)

Don't call me Al, or late for dinner. Ba Dum Tss

Image by Vkastro from Pixabay 

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  


Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device  

"I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult." 
                                                                                            -Rita Rudner

Dear Stickies and Gentlereaders,


As in Elmer Gantry, Dana.


Elmer Gantry is the protagonist (and title) of an excellent novel written by Sinclair Lewis and an excellent movie more or less based on the book. 

{Oh... okay.} 

Prior to retirement, I was what you'd call a working stiff for the majority of the 45 years I spent earning a living. The velocity of my cash flow was occasionally reduced to that of certain sections of the Rio Grande River when Texas is in the midst of one of its periodic droughts.

{Oh... okay.}

This sort of situation sometimes led to my consideration of various and sundry get-rich-quick or slower but seemingly more reliable schemes to resolve this regularly recurring problem once and for all. 

{You know, other people have...}

Yeah, I know, and I did too, or tried to, repeatedly, but it never worked out very well. I'm not complaining mind you, but I also don't feel guilty. I can declare with a straight face that sometimes it was my fault, but mostly it wasn't. 

And when it wasn't it could easily lead to the kind of idle speculation mentioned above. However, I never once attempted to start a spiritual cult despite the low barriers to entry in the religion business.

{If you weren't so loath to deploy hackneyed cliches, at this point I'd react with a, wait...what?} 

Elmer Gantry was in the religion business; he was a hustler, a phony. He didn't start a cult, preferring to operate within more traditional religious structures. I myself would've preferred leading a modestly sized cult. 

I'm a low-profile sort of dude who would've been content with two or three subservient (by nature, not by training) concubines, a modest income, and pepperoni pizza at least once a week. 

I would've been a kind shepherd to my flock, but I think that traveling that particular road requires a degree of sociopathology beyond my relatively modest one. Besides, I should think that being a spiritual con artist would be as exhausting as any career that requires being an inveterate liar. 

May as well get a real job, or join a cult, a secular one dedicated to resolving your financial problems, like Amway. 


Amway: "We manufacture and distribute nutrition, beauty, personal care and home products—which are exclusively sold in 100 countries through Amway Independent Business Owners (IBOs)." My emphasis. 

Hey, ya gotta figure it's easy to accidentally step on some toes when your company's that hooge

Wikipedia: "Amway has been investigated in various countries and by institutions such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for alleged pyramid scheme practices. It has never been found guilty though it has paid tens of millions of dollars to settle these suits."

Honest mistakes or cost of doing business?

FYI, "...exclusively sold (my emphasis again) in 100 countries through Amway Independent Business Owners (IBOs)" is at the top of a web page with a link a few inches away, SHOP PRODUCTS, that will enable you to access Amway's entire product line and skip dealing with a "registered" IBO (who pays Amway $76 a year for the privilege). 

Just sayin'.

I had forgotten about Amway. There are certain advantages to being a relatively reclusive retiree who's no longer a member of most "target markets." 

I thought perhaps they were no longer in business but they still are, very much so. I went a-googlin' and discovered that their revenues are almost $9,000,000,000 a year and that they're an international firm that does business here, there, and waaay over there, in China, their largest market. 

{I wonder if Uyghurs are allowed to be IBOs?}

In my defense, it's been a while since anyone has tried to sign me up to be an IBO much less tried to sell me some merchandise, which used to happen regularly. Fun fact: Amway is the largest MLM (multi-level marketing) company on the planet Earth, amazing what can happen when you're not paying attention.

Another fun fact: Amway reports on a 2021 U.S. Income Disclosure that "For calendar year 2021, the average income for all U.S. registered IBOs at the Founders Platinum level and below was $766 before expenses."

Hmm, let's see... 766... divide by 12... that's $63.83 a month before expenses. 


It would seem that the Founders Platinum level should be called the Founders Aluminum level as I suspect that recycling cans would be a viable alternative. 

To be continued...

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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