Yesterday I had an experience, while in the line of duty, that made me very uncomfortable. Itchy, even. You know that movie Magnolia and the role Tom Cruise plays as a slimy motivational speaker? Yeeeaah it was kinda like that. But with stockmarkets.
Surprisingly it wasn’t the undercurrent of capitalist greed in the room (most of the people listening looked like retiring types who wanted to do those things thing ageing folk like to do and drive around Australia or, you know, retire or something) so much as the attitude of the speaker that troubled me. He looked like he’d had his teeth capped. But that wasn’t the problem. He also looked like he’d deliberately purchased and chosen to warn the most godawful flashy and presumably expensive-as-fuck watch he could find. But that wasn’t it either. He… he was just kind of a bully. He was sometimes amusing, smart and, at times, even a sympathetic fellow (who isn’t sympathetic if their apple-cheeked granddaughter conveniently, and allegedly, has cystic fibrosis – I mean really). But he was also a bully.
Now, it’s not hard to bully people who know less than you, particularly when these people have come along to hear you speak and are a generally polite-looking group unaccustomed to telling anybody to fuck off when they deserve it, but it’s not exactly God’s work either is it?
You might reasonably argue that people who attend these sorts of free seminars on how to make money on the stockmarket expect, if not deserve, to be forced to shout answers aloud, raise their hands when told and have it heavily implied that they’re a stubborn pussy if they don’t sign up for the not-nearly-so-free ‘training’ to be held days after the free seminar. Obviously just because you can get away with it doesn’t much it okay but, fair enough, most of these tactics seem to me not incredibly dissimilar to the same tactics employed in schools. So all of this I could dismiss as, if not quite my bag, then nonetheless within the confines of acceptability. The problem came when the tooth-capped fuck in too-tight jeans (God I wish he’d had a ponytail but, sadly, he didn’t) moved in to clinch the deal.
I fear I must move to quoting more-or-less verbatim (memory faults aside) to do true justice to the terrible cunt and his cuntish ways.
“Now I’m going to ask you to do something and I think it’s quite a brave thing,” the would-be-preacher warbled about an hour and forty minutes into this thing. “I want everyone who is brave enough to take this next step and sign up for this program to stick your hand in the air - come on don't be shy.”
It was just about here that I exchanged a glance with the person sitting next to me and was quietly thrilled to see on his face a No Fucking Way expression that matched my own.
“That’s it,” cockhead-with-a-microphone crapped on, “stick your hands up and everyone else just stay where they are.”
Stay where you are, I thought, we have secured the exits.
“Now everyone who has their hand in the air just stand up, that’s it, stand up – don’t be shy. Alrighty there were a few more of you – there you go. Congratulations. Now everyone who is standing up come out here, yeah, come over here and line up, I want to count you off.”
It was right about here that previously unseen tables winked into existence at the back of the room and strangers holding sign-up forms for the five-grand-a-pop training popped out of the wormholes they’d been hiding in as though they’d always been there Suddenly everyone standing in a line had a clipboard and a form in their hand as they were shunted, like poor big-eyed cows, to their death.
I don’t know what happened next – it was here that I walked out, shamefully feigning an urgent phonecall instead of kneeing cap-tooth in the groin and opening the doors to lead the poor fuckers to safety. None of this was illegal, of course, and nobody forced anyone to sign up for anything, listen to anything they didn’t want to or even feign interest in the dicksnap’s three grotesque progeny and their supposedly fascinating lives. Yet I still left the room and fled down the street with the simultaneous desires to a) never attend another such seminar, even for the purposes of a grimy expose, b) keep my money in a hessian sack under the bed, c) Punch that shithead in the face.