Lictor - Column for 4/20

Fear of the light.

Like some loathsome creature of the night, like a foul hell-spawn vampire, I have grown to fear the light.

Happily, though, I'm not afraid of just any light and certainly not daylight. No, there is a particular light that fills my heart with dread and turns my nether-regions wobbly with apprehension. It's the voice mail waiting light.

I never used to be afraid of voice-mails, you understand. In previous jobs, voice-mails were a good thing. A welcome boon. Like a rain shower in spring-time, each voice-mail was a chance for new things to grow and blossom. When I was in a sales job, I would feel a quickening of the pulse, a flutter of excitement in my breast at the possibilities of each unheard message. Was it a returned call expressing interest in my wares? Better yet, a prospect calling to place an order?

Not now. Now, the tables are turned, the hunter has become the prey. Now, people want to sell me things, and I have learned to loath that blinking harbinger of hopeful sales execs.

"Hello, this is Bob from Bob's Printing and Embossing Service. We offer the highest quality wild-life embossed name tags for prices beginning at very reasonable.." click. Delete. Next. "Hi, this is Sue from Sue's Novelty Paper products. I'd love an opportunity to..." click. Delete. Next. "Hello, my name is Roger, and I've the most enormous.." click. *sigh*

Not that I can blame any of the salesmen in question. Only a few months ago I was doing exactly the same thing. And I cursed those spineless slime balls who do exactly what I do now. Hide behind their voice mail systems. Don't return calls. Don't even have the decency to call back when they say they will. I'm doing all the things that used to drive me crazy when I was on the sales treadmill.

If you're out there, reading this, please understand. I know you have a great product. I know you're a nice guy. I know you can help me do, well, whatever it is you help people do. It's not even that I don't want to talk to you. It's just that I get really, really tired of explaining that right now, today, this afternoon, I don't particularly need a quote from you to produce a set of steak knives with my company logo and name in six languages etched into the blade. I mean, they sound lovely, really. But no. Thanks. And even if I did, the guy who signs the checks wouldn't want them. And even if I thought he would, I won't see him for another week and there's no way I can get the order to you no later than three this afternoon to take advantage of your once-in-a-lifetime, special introductory premium client discount package. Even if it includes a lifetime supply of self-righting paperclip holders.

Just leave me a message. I promise to listen to at least the first seven or eight words.

After that, you're probably on your own.

Columns by Lictor