Saturday, March 23, 2013


   For as long as I can remember, people have said to Caroline and me, both separately and when we’re together as a couple, "you should have a talk show.”

  I guess they find some of the stories we tell incredible, improbable and entertaining, but somehow they know we’re never exaggerating.  Odd and extreme things do happen and like powerful magnets both of us attract such occurrences and situations.  

   The same thing seems to be happening now to Jane.

   Yesterday, I wasted two and a-half long hours with a couple of predators from the financial adviser world in a meeting called under false pretenses.   Professional semi-colleagues of mine, who should be filed away in the “Ladies and Germs” comedy intro department, are strongly insisting that I help them shill for these guys by offering their services to my law clients as a “value-added” I might be able to provide to them.  That is to say, that I would propose to my esteemed peeps that they “take a meeting” with these fellows, and if that conclave consummates in a professional engagement, I would then receive (and share with my semi-colleagues) a substantial “success fee.”

   There’s nothing terribly wrong about this, assuming one has the stomach for the activity, the brass to make the suggestion and, of course, full and prior disclosure.  I’m not sure I do, but to appear agreeable I said I would attend a pitch meeting.

    I need to mention at this point that Caroline and I discarded with drama our own financial adviser a couple of years ago.   This person came to us (and to my mother before us) with excellent recommendations and was a good-looking cove skilled at pushing fear/insecurity buttons while inculcating customer trust.  

   Ultimately, we found that he was just a glib charalatan-practitioner dispensing obvious advice and clichéd idées reçues that typified a zeitgeist growth industry which eventually got its wings trimmed as a result of the 2007-8 Crash. We could have obtained this information ourselves far less expensively by doing our own research.  The main benefit of knowing him was eventually learning from our mistakes and growing up a little.

   Yesterday’s tag-team staged the meeting as “role-play,” a contrivance I despise.   I’m a Quaker aspiring to sincerity; I find “being me” difficult enough.

   Our assigned play roles were as follow:



   Accordingly, as the curtain comes up on Scene 1, we three  are seated in a corporate conference room in Industrial Park, USA.  Adviser 1 and Adviser 2 are alert with bright eyes and pricked ears, poised like mantises over  pre-printed questionnaires.  

    My appearance and affect is one of blank, naïve accommodation and, I am afraid, weakness.

   They begin by asking about my personal finances in microscopic detail.  This, they offer,  is simply for purposes of illustration, to enable me to analyze and judge for myself and my phantom clients the acuity and usefulness of their methods and diagnostic tools.  I am assured that the information I give them will remain confidential.

   Inquiry continues, becoming more aggressive in tone, detail and imagery.  Advisers’ body language and verbal colloquy-interplay suggest judgements being made and being filed for eventual use.  Running me through a mill set first to "coarse" and then to "fine."

P.O.V.: Spirit leaving body, floating high above the scene, I am Agent Scully being probed by hideous aliens.

Gregorian chant refrain forms -- the Advisers echoing three times: 

“Protect you from Predators & Creditors; In-Laws & Outlaws."

“Protect you from Predators & Creditors; In-Laws & Outlaws.”

“Protect you from Predators & Creditors; In-Laws & Outlaws.”

   The day began with nausea, finally subsiding, now redoubling on itself.  

   Eventually they make an undisguised pitch to become our financial advisers and insist on scheduling a short-date follow-up meeting to seal the deal.

   End. There is no Scene 2.  

   It’s a crappy one-act play I’ve attended before with the last, dismissed financial adviser, but at least I chose to buy tickets for that one.

   This revival should be called “Dream Predators,” featuring as dramatis personae in the roles of First and Second Predators my so-called-professional semi-colleagues who set up this charade (and who stood to earn a success fee if I bought into the arrangement).  My interrogators play the key roles of Third and Fourth Predators.

   I am Agent Scully.


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