Health, Money, Love And Perfumes: My Shitty Dream
No job. No money. No lover. Just big dreams and even bigger ideas. At fourteen, I was a man on a mission. One way or another all three were going to be mine…and sooner, rather than later, no matter what it took.
Only one problem…well several really. I wasn’t old enough to get a real job, my only mode of transportation was a bike, and I was too shy to make the first move with any of my crushes. All my girlfriends until now had asked me out.
So there I was Saturday morning, all dressed up in my most professional clothes (black jeans, a button up faded baby blue shirt, and black tennis shoes with white socks) sitting in a room full of grizzly looking adults, most of them in their mid to late thirties at least, all of us wanting to make a few quick bucks. I’d convinced my parents this was a legitimate job that had actually agreed to pay me from the dozens I’d cut out of the classifieds section of the local paper and called incessantly for an interview, so they dropped me off.
You sure about this? They kept asking as we pulled into the industrial park where the little offices of my new job were. This doesn’t look like much of a business. But after watching me leave on my bike every afternoon and come back sweating and frowning from not having found a job, this was progress.
Not even the Hartz Fried Chicken all-you-could-eat buffet by our house had wanted to hire me, and they gave everyone a job!
I guess I should have known better, but I needed to believe I was now making my own money. The job sounded easy enough. All we had to do was carry around our boxes full of knock-off perfumes and colognes, convince people that our products were better than the real thing, get them to buy them, then split our earnings with the company at some percentage I hadn’t really paid attention to, in order to make a few bucks in cash for the day. The smarter, or less desperate, people in the training class began to trickle out as they realized from the over-excitement in the air on the part of our trainer that this was an impossible mission.
The rest of us, down from about 20 to six, all squeezed into a four door small Toyota corolla with no air conditioning, each with our box of fake parfums sitting on our laps, riding solemnly, resigned almost, as our trainer drove us from one shopping strip to another in the dead heat and humidity of a mid-July Texas summer. We must have smelled awful,which could have accounted for our overall failure as door to door sales people, but every time he’d stop, we’d jump out of the car, run up to as many people as possible, spraying cologne after cologne on ourselves or them, harassing them to buy at least one bottle from us. Nobody did!
Most people just looked at us dumbfounded wondering why we were selling perfumes to them in the parking lot of their grocery stores. After six hours of this we returned empty handed…except for our knock-offs of course. I wasn’t giving up though. It had taken me this long to find a job and I was going to make a sell!
Unfortunately, my parents weren’t convinced either they needed any fake perfumes, especially since they had already wasted gas money on driving me back and forth to this job where I hadn’t yet earned a single penny. In the end, it was only through the compassion of my brother in law that I was able to finally sell two colognes – he bought them from me in the living room of our apartment. That next day when I turned in my $60 for the two colognes, they gave me $10 back and offered me congratulations! There was no denying it then. I had just been ripped off, almost as bad as my brother in law. I didn’t say a word, just turned around, stuffed my $10 in my pocket, and walked away, ashamed and embarrassed, all the 40 minutes back home.
It wasn’t my summer for salud, dinero y amor, but it would be one day I told myself.
That summer still hasn’t come! Not in the way I imagined it then, but it has manifested itself in millions of other small ways I could have never envisioned at fourteen…peach fuzz and all!