Knock, Knock

Hey dude. Yeah you, with the white shirt, and the black shorts, and leather binder. You, walking up and down the neighborhood in your neon nikes, the man who works for commission and has the law of big numbers on his side . . .

I feel terrible for, and completely annoyed by you, so I was going to leave you a basic note:

"Get off my lawn!"

But at thirty six years old, I've decided I can't say that until I'm an eighty-two year old Clint Eastwood.

And I was going to write something hostile:

"I hope your mother doesn't love you"

Or something passive aggressive:

"It must feel really bad knowing that there is an entire neighborhood hoping to never see you again."

Or condescending:

"Really? Neon Nikes? Are you a fan of Bo Jackson, or Bo Diddley? Cause whichever one . . . Bo knows . . . Bo knows . . . Bo knows."

Yet, I chickened out. Even when I convinced myself that by posting a "go away" note I was going to save him the five minutes its going to take for me to reject him, I still felt like I was being unneighborly.

And by extension, un-American.

Who am I to belittle what this man has chosen to do with his life? As if what I do for a living is any less a form of prostitution. A form a prostitution that wasn't even my first choice of prostitution gigs. A secondary or tertiary form of prostitution at best. Not exactly the asian sex trade, but I'm nobodies courtesan, and yet I've priced myself out of the pool boy market, which considering my pasty white skin, is just as well for everyone involved.

And seeing this young guy traipse from house to home reminds me of a company VP who recently quit her job to spend more time with her family. She's the only VP I have ever felt warmly about, and I've met them all, so it is kind of sad to see her go.

Actually, its not really all that sad.

What was sad, was looking into her face the last time I saw her and seeing how miserable she was. How totally out of place she looked. How uncomfortable she fit.

She was endearing and vivacious when I first sat down with her, and ten months later she looked like an extra on "The Walking Dead" and handed me one of the least inspiring compliments I'd ever received.

Now it is fair to say there may have been extenuating circumstances. Sick children or dead moms or any combination thereof, which, truth be told, can age you faster than Christopher Guest in the pit of despair, but I'm not sure that's the case here.

If you want my opinion, I think John C. Maxwell killed her.

John C. Maxwell, the guru of leadership, salesmanship, and developmental self help books. Masterbation material for all those who want to be more successful and blame themselves for not being so. S&M for the financial elite.

Now I'm not saying that it is wise to lay on your back and wait for fate to send you a sugar daddy, but the poor aren't poor just cause their lazy, the fat aren't fat just cause they're hungry, and I'm not a rockstar just cause I'm a coward, but if you believe these things, then you are absolutely bound to have a very difficult time out in the real world, for everyone becomes stupid and lazy and they all make bad decisions, and you are the only sane capable person left on the top of the heap, and in then end, Mr. Loman, you're gonna have to kill yourself, cause your children are useless, your wife is bat shit crazy, and they're all gonna starve if you don't.

You simply cannot qualify nor quantify a human life by any external means and if you try, you will drive yourself crazy doing so.

Maxwell thinks you can. Maxwell thinks you should. Maxwell would applaud the guff of the boy in black shorts if Maxwell didn't live in a gated community with a "No Soliciting" sign glued to his front door.

And if I asked Maxwell to guide me to being a rockstar or a novelist, he would tell me to have courage, have conviction, focus on my dreams, and don't let any external influences interfere with my work. "Talent is not enough!" he would say, "You must persevere!"

Which is pretty good advice.

Except when the lawn needs to be mowed. And my wife needs something lifted from the high shelf, or there is a spill on the floor. Except when the phone rings, or dinner is ready, or the children are asleep and sexy time just suddenly became an option.

Perseverance costs.

I once yelled at my son to stop bothering me while I was writing.

I was writing about how awesome it is playing catch with my son.

And my son was bothering me because he wanted to play catch.

What kind of success was I then, hmm?

What kind of success had the VP become? What kind of leader can you be when you have no respect for honest regular people living their own lives of quiet desperation?

The answer is, you can't.

and it will eat you up alive, like Maxwell's frippery ate up our now defunct VP.

The laws of big numbers tell you that if you bang on enough doors, someone will eventually answer. And the laws of big numbers tell you that even if you're selling scratched ABBA records, your gonna eventually knock on the door of a hipster vinyl-head DJ with money to spend who is home and awake at 2:30pm on a Monday. Just not on Maxwell's door. He is none of these things.

But salesman burn out just as fast as dreamers do. The scars of every path run just as deep.

And yes, you won't get anywhere from your living room couch. But there's a new episode of "Game of Thrones" on HBO and an entire season of "True Blood" that you haven't got to yet, and imagine the shame of trying to network without a least a cursory knowledge of good dialogue and soft core porn. People can't relate to you if you don't participate in their culture, and they truly hate you when you don't get their pop culture references.

So go ahead.

Read Maxwell.

Read Miller.

Assemble a snack plate and update your Netflix queue.

Do what you need to do to feel a sense of worth.

Answer the door and meet someone new.

Then go play catch with your children.

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