Bob Sullivan is across from me. We’re sitting in the Rusty Pelican having dinner. He used to be my district manager, now he’s VP of Sales. As usual, he’s nervously patting his receding hairline.
This is what he does when he needs to straighten someone out without extinguishing their fire. I feel for him but I hope he doesn’t make this too awkward.
You see, he’s the one with the bright idea of bringing me into sales, which George Jones thought was a ridiculous idea. (Me too). Sully pushed, George relented, and I moved to occupy the Arizona-New Mexico territory.
It was mine to lose.
At 44, I had never held a sales position, never filled out an expense report, a business plan or a speaker’s bureau request.
I didn’t even know which end of the body the product went in.
So, having no formal education but for a GED, I was forced to make it up as I went along. You don’t get the close supervision required when you’re 2500 miles from the home office.
Soon, when word got back that I was naked in hot tubs with customers, teaching cardiologist’s kids how to play guitar, doing stand-up at the Elks in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and suspiciously getting bit by customer’s dogs in Albuquerque, the in-house tension would start to rise.
The fact that hundreds of pounds of lobster, steamers and chowder were being dry iced out to the desert, mercifully escaped their attention.
Signed contracts were often stained with drawn butter.
I was FTD’s most valued customer with my constantly updated spreadsheet of birthday flowers sent to all my lovely female customers.
It was FTD without STD. Took some doing, believe me.
I needed to be dealt with of course, but gently, because my coffers were rising. Aetna was approving Cardiolite at $110 per injection under my clueless guidance and favorable customer letters were hitting Georgie’s desk.
There was enough hand wringing, lip biting and forehead patting to go around in Billerica those days.
“You’re doing a great job out here Bob,” he would say “but you take absolutely everything to such a ridiculous extreme.”
Fuck yeah, I would think while trying to look concerned. I take everything to a ridiculous extreme. Why bother, otherwise?
Fuck remarkable I say, shoot for ridiculous. No one from that era is ever gonna say, “O’Hearn? I don’t seem to recall.”
A few years ago I got a call from Brussels from a couple of reps who reported to Sully at the time, asking if all the stories were true. Sully told them I was the best he ever saw.
Anything worth doing, is worth overdoing.
When I brought a guitar home at the age of 25, my father told me I didn’t have enough rhythm to masturbate. Dad, ye hardly knew me. 🙂
In five years, I was fronting a popular band playing guitar…and keyboards.
When I got into video production, Sully gave me another “ridiculous reminder” and I ended up creating my own studio in the home office.
Now, in my 73rd year, after a total physical and financial collapse, I am inching towards 10% body fat, a twenty year-old’s body, the wind of a track star and the start of a very successful business.
It’s time to get even more ridiculous.
I’m now almost 50 pounds lighter, a certified personal trainer, certified in nutrition, weight loss and senior fitness. All areas just waiting to be drowned in helpful servings of my ridiculousness.
And the hits will keep coming because I know the value of going shit house.
Remarkable doesn’t work anymore. Always shoot for ridiculous.
Don’t ever have them scratching their head when your name comes up.