Lloyd Dobler Wisdom

“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or…process anything sold, bought or processed, or repair anything sold, bought or processed, you know, as a career I don’t want to do that.”

-Lloyd Dobler
“Say Anything”

Stealing and selling. That’s the American way.

My father said everyone’s a salesman.

Maybe that’s why I don’t want to be one.

Or maybe it’s my education, in the wilds of Vermont, in the pre-Internet era, off the grid where the world of commerce never intruded.

I hate salesmen. Almost as much as the lying, cheating, scumbags who believe winning is about having an edge. Not purveying the best product honestly, but screwing somebody to get ahead.


I think my eyes are gonna roll into the back of my head. From the wannabes to the household names, they’re constantly dunning me to pay attention. Not with equanimity, but with a full court press, as if they were Kobe and their lives depended on sinking the basket.

They don’t want to know your opinion, unless it agrees with theirs.

They just want to tell you that whatever they’re selling is revolutionary! The best ever! Just let them tell you why!

And they drone on for hours, until you make up an excuse about kidney failure or a family emergency, it’s got to be that significant a lie in order to be excused. But in the meantime, they’re gonna follow you out to your car and make you waste more time before you can finally get inside, turn the key and mutter yourself WHAT AN ASSHOLE, as the young Alvy says about Joey Nichols in “Annie Hall”.

We’ve become a nation of self-promoters. Used to be you had a job with the company, or maybe you were a teacher, you consumed, but you did not sell. Now everybody’s got a Facebook page and an app they cooked up in their spare time and if you’d only go to lunch with them they’d explain to you how it’s going to change the world, especially if you get on the bandwagon with them, and help sell it, pro bono, because it’s such a special project.

I know, I asked for it, I published my e-mail address, I put myself out there, but the endless number of people getting in my face just makes me want to retreat.

How many great albums come out a year? Certainly fewer than twenty five. Ten? But there’s over a hundred thousand released and if you’d just take a few hours to listen to the salesman’s music, you’d get it too.

Do you really think you’re gonna invent the new music distribution system when MOG is trying to sell itself in the wake of Spotify’s success?

Stealing and selling are a cancer that’s eating up our society. Despite ready information at our fingertips, online, separating the wheat from the chaff, you want us to ignore all that and listen to you, so you can get ahead, so you can make money, so you can leave us behind.

Yes, that’s your goal. You don’t care about us. We’re just a cog in the wheel, a step in the process. If you play your cards right you won’t even need to deal with us anymore. You can fly in a private jet and vacation on a private island. You don’t want to be my friend, you just want my money or my influence or…

P.S. If you’re gonna sell, can you at least be creative as opposed to in my face? Maybe the best element of the Oscar telecast, along with the Christopher Guest troupe, was Jimmy Kimmel’s “Say Anything” promo. It had everything the rest of the show did not, humor and a respect for the audience, believing viewers were aware of this film which never won an Oscar but is in a whole generation’s DNA.

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