The year was 1985 and I was about to embark on another sales journey.
Selling waterless cookware was the job that polyester boy was offering. A Bobbie Flay type representative offered us new recruits a stunning cooking performance with chicken and vegetables; by the end of the savory performance we would have signed anything. Contracts and boxes of cookware were given to us while some mission impossible music played. The energy in the room was electric and pulsing with pyramid scheme dynamite!
The slick cookware boss seemed to feed off this recruiting energy as if his blood pulsed with the music. Slick divided us into teams next. Polyester boy was a group leader and of course I am placed on his team with a few other recruits who really seem ready to sell anything.
Driving in caravan style my beat up VW follows the blue caddy and the other recruits to our sales destination blindly like the pied piper, down the interstate into Illinois. We stop at a flea bitten motel and unfortunately that is where we will be staying during this sales journey.
Smokey, musty, and some other undeterminable sweaty type odors hung in the room we entered with casino style carpeting that had stains the size of small children. Thankful to be off the road, I was still paralyzed with germ and odor phobia. Cleaned up crack house would be a compliment. Team leader acted as if nothing was wrong; maybe from his height things smells better, he just wanted us to be thankful for a place to stay and to get busy. The get busy of it all was to grab a phone book, and start randomly calling people offering them “free Florida trips” with the small catch that we had to demonstrate our waterless cookware. Just a side note I get lost in a brown paper bag and tore bread when I made PBJ’s. So you can imagine what a brilliant idea this is in a State I am not from driving to parts unknown impersonating Bobby Flay offering fake free trips and speed dialing strangers in my best Arkansas voice. Oh and don’t forget in a motel that is a notch above crack house.
Well, ring ring I get my first successful “yes we will take your sales pitch visit”, I get directions to the home and I make a mental note the place I am staying is right near the hospital, “check”. I load up the beater and head out. For the love of all that is holy somehow I sold a set and made it home (to the almost crack house) that mental note about the hospital had helped me.
The next night it rained angry rain, dark and fierce and I was set for a night appointment in the country.
No visibility, bald tires and close to hydroplaning in my tin can of a car I am out in this devil made storm to sell some cookware. Out of nowhere on the darkest country road, behind me driving like a bullet in this storm comes a Domino’s Pizza truck and it is on me like a fly on good fresh fly paper. The light on the top of that truck keeps getting closer and closer. Dark, wet, lost and pizza truck is scaring me bad.THEN…Bump, bump, bumping me he is crazy! Next thing I know “Lights out, party over” that pizza truck rammed my VW so hard going about 50 miles per hour it sent me sailing air born sideways over the wet grassy embankment, tumbling, over and over and over again.
Stopping in the yard of someone’s house still inside my mangled car with rain pouring in and all I thought was “mental note I am staying near the hospital” and crazy sales girl drove that sparking broken and mangled thing up out of that yard dazed until a policeman caught me and took over.
Coming to in the hospital wet and sitting on the edge of one of those exam tables. The policeman was writing in a tablet just like in the shows and kept trying to get a statement from me and I told him Dominoes drove me off the road, “crazy driver”. Waking up a few days later I was told I had been out for a few days and they had to call my parents. Dad came to Illinois and drove me back.
Cookware girl was back home but still I thought I was a pretty good Bobby Flay impersonator and wanted to see the disco at the mafia bosses house or by now you may know him as slick you know that was the big prize at the end of the summer if you stuck it out. Once I stuck my hooks into an adventure I really hated to quit so banged and bruised I sold my Mom a set of those pans and she still uses them to this day.
What did I learn? I have good angels that watch me. That flying roll down that hill was a bad one that car was totaled. I learned I don’t like polyester and still wish I had got to see that disco. I still don’t really like Domino’s either.
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