I knew I should have just finished my lunch and ignored the door. There I was, leaving my wife, sick and lying in bed, to go answer the knock at the door.
My Golden Doodle, Audrey, answered the knock with her most ferocious barks, protecting her pack from whatever waited to disturb its peace.
There, on our stoop, was a young Hispanic man with a laminated flyer and a form in one hand, a pen in the other and half a moustache above his lip. He handed me the laminated flyer and began his spiel; “Hello, sir, I’m trying to raise money to go to college… blah, blah, blah… stay off drugs and out of gangs… blah, blah, blah… selling subscriptions to the Long Beach Press Telegram for $20. May I sign you up today?”
His first appeal was toward my charity and good heart. He doesn’t yet know that I’m not a good person.
“No, thank you. I’m not interested,” I cordially replied.
I attempted to hand him back the laminated form, but he would not hold out his hand to accept it. I’ve determined this is the way he has been taught to keep his prey on the hook. Most people, including myself, won’t simply drop it at a person’s feet. I will keep this in mind for the future.
“But sir, the information in the Telegram is second to none,” the young man.
Now he is trying to rationalize with me by providing a benefit of the product, failing to question what I see as something of value.
“I get my news online,” I respond truthfully.
“The Telegram is better than online, it has more information,” he responded, a bit of panic in his voice. Touché.
“I would argue it doesn’t.”
“Have you ever put them up next to each other and compared?”
Good, now he’s thinking, though it is a totally rational thought.
“No, but I think your argument is ludicrous. Have you ever been online?” I’m getting very tired of holding this laminated form by now and want to go back to my lunch.
“You’ve got a big dog there! You could use the paper as a toy for him or if the dog makes a mess…” Now he’s reaching. His third appeal is for the utility of the product outside its intended application. Interesting notion.
I consider unleashing Audrey’s 60 pounds of blonde fury on the young man in retribution for calling her a “him”, but realize that she would simply wag her butt and wait to be petted. His best argument so far is that his product would be best utilized for keeping dog crap off my carpets. He’s not doing well.
“I don’t think that’s a strong reason. I’m going in. Good luck in school,” I say as I reach for the door handle and shove the laminated form into his chest.
“$15!” He tries one last technique to save the sale; bargaining.
“No. Thank you.”
“So you don’t want me to go to college?!” He says in that way that teenagers do. You know what I mean.
“Don’t pull that guilt trip bullshit on me!” I say, spinning around from the door to face him.
“I’m not guilting you, sir,” he says backing down a little.
“Oh, don’t backpeddle now! You are trying to guilt me. Is this your best way to sell papers? Your argument is analogous to saying that if I don’t spend every penny of my paycheck, I’m trying to ruin the economy of the country.” I’m pissed at this point.
“Maybe you are…”
My thought at this point is that he’s trying to get into college as a result of a punitive settlement for my having committed battery. What’s the next argument going to be, white man’s guilt? Maybe it is inherent racism of our society brought on in part by the heavy handedness of Anglo-Americans upon minorities that has prevented them from succeeding!
“You need to leave now.” I then walked inside and locked the door. I don’t know why this little dipshit pissed me off so much, but the conversation really ate at me for several hours. It is indicative of the problem of our society as a whole with this over-arching feeling of entitlement. We seem to be under the impression that it is someone else’s responsibility to provide for us. I think that its great that this guy’s trying to earn money for college, but don’t for a minute think that I have an obligation to help him achieve that goal. We all have to draw our lines and we do every day. The guy with the cardboard sign at the onramp, the starving children in third world countries, the problems of the world that have human faces all deserve to be given a chance. Do we cash our paychecks, set aside only what we need to live and give away the rest? I’m doubting you do. So kid, if you’re out there and reading this, I want to say this with all of my heart and with the full force of emotion that I have for you: Suck it.
If you’ll excuse me, I have to go make a payment on my student loans that got me through college.