Wrong Time to..

There is a story written by Mark Twain about how he once met an assessor. He started telling the man about his salary, first modestly and then more boastfully. The man happened to be an income-tax assessor and Twain's boasts actually ended up costing him more in taxes than in the admiration of the man at the end of their conversation.

I ended up talking about my raise in salary, in the most non-specific and vague terms in context of something else in front of some friends. No numbers or details were mentioned except that it had increased. You can do that in front of friends, but NEVER in front of a car dealer (even if that person is the friend's mother). She picked up on that tiny detail like a hound picks a scent and started selling me a car. In the span of 30 seconds, the mother who was narrating ski stories of her children went into total business mode. It was surprising and extremely funny to see the transformation. I was eligible for this discount and that and it would only cost me a few hundred a month, etc.

I tried to tell her that I was not a car guy, and I was not even looking to get a new one. No amount of discounts or features would convince me to consider her deals. It didn't seem to work. What saved me from her advances was something that I thought wouldn't count as a reason.

She asked me, "What do you drive now?"
"I drive a silver-grey Honda Civic."
She grew suddenly quiet after that.

Nothing you say speaks as loudly as the fact that you have a Honda, a Civic and which is silver-grey. This simple fact can totally convince a car dealer that you are NOT a car guy! You treat a car as a reliable means of transportation and there is no point wasting breath trying to sell a Cadillac! Yeah, she was trying to sell me a Cadillac.


SKP50 said...

This should be a great style.
Such a style is ideal for" middles".
One should see the seamier or naughty side of life.Intrinsically ther is funny side to a situation or phoney way people behave.
If you can dissect it out and recarve it for the reader.

A humorist can be tske BIRTH in 2010..............POPS

Wavefunction said...

Very useful! Should help

Tim Marzullo said...

the Honda Civic would not give you away; it's not a terribly exciting car, but there's a nice subculture of folks who trick them out. But it's the SILVER-GREY that totally gives it away. Worst color of the 2000's to ever become popular.

And don't hate on Cadillac's. You should get the new CTS.

Hirak said...

I told her YOUR Cadillac story. She was mighty pleased that it caused a happy union between a former Ms. Trigger and Dr. Marzullo.

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