I Did Look Ratty


Once I got to the point where I had 17 different department store credit cards and at least two other regular credit cards with unlimited balances, and to the point where at least a dozen loan companies were pestering me to take out small $1,500 personal loans just because they were “Running a contest to see who could close the most loans,” I was feeling pretty good about myself.

I had moved into a new home where everything was brand spanking new and I had Three automobiles that didn’t rattle my nerves when they crossed railroad tracks and life was looking good …. so I developed a new hobby too … just to keep from being bored. I needed some fun in my life and I was vain, I have to admit it … I was vain and I am still vain …but I have settled down a little bit in my advancing age.

Anyway, the new hobby that I developed was to cast off my tailored business suits and dress as close to an indigent man as possible — and to make visits to upscale retail establishments and a few restaurants as well.

I walked into one large department store one day ….an elegant place with lots of nattily dressed sales personnel milling about, catering to every whim of their snoot-wad high classed clientele, with the intention of purchasing some personal writing stationery as a gift for my wife.

I stood around in that store for the better part of 45 minutes when a sales person approached me with a kind of “My God, I hope this fellow does not smell as much like a dog as he looks” expression on his neatly groomed and shiny clean face and asked me in a relatively haughty tone, “Is there something I can help you with?”

He didn’t even have the courtesy to call me, “Sir”

Some of his female peers stood a distance away, casting furtive glances at me and pointing and giggling.

I cannot say that I was overwhelmed by the salesman’s coating of Pierre Cardin cologne, but the thought occurred to me that he might have actually taken a bath in it.

I could almost see my face in his overly-polished black Brunello Cucinelli shoes.

I answered him by saying, “I was thinking of purchasing some stationery as a gift for my wife.”

He had the unmitigated gall to reply, “The stationer that we represent is very exclusive and probably not in the price range that you had in mind. May I suggest that you go down the block to (Every jerk’s paper and party supplies)? (That was not the actual name of the store he had suggested.

I pressed him a bit further saying, “Oh I don’t know … can you show me a few things in the line that you represent?”

I could see that he was growing a little impatient with me and it felt to me like he might have been embarrassed being seen by his coworkers as even speaking with me.

He finally said, “I’m afraid not, sir … we have nothing for you. As I suggested before….”

I thanked him for his time and could almost hear him breathing a sigh of relief as I left his store.

I had this smug look of satisfaction on my face because my ruse worked.

In a couple of days, I got out of bed one morning, showered, sprayed myself liberally with Armani Eau Pour Homme cologne, selected the shiniest pair of black dress shoes I could find in my extensive walk-in closet — select Italian silk shirt — custom gold cuff links — Beau Brummel tie, English waistcoat — and, accompanied by a friend, returned to the store …. the same store.

No sooner had I entered the establishment, I was surrounded by what seemed to be a horde of anxious and very attentive salespeople, each of them gushing and competing with each other to draw my attention first to this thing and then to that thing and then to the other thing …. It was kind of suffocating …. but it raised a sort of libidinal twinge and a heady rush of “Yes, you fools, you are, each one of you going to do a lot of ass kissing this morning if you expect to get me to open my wallet for you.”

I did this a lot … in many different places …. and it was always the same. I could of sworn that if i had wanted them to, they would have fondled me in a most salacious manner.

I finally had the privilege of confronting the man I had originally encountered on my quest to purchase the stationery. He did not recognize me at first. But once he did recognize me, I believe he was more than willing to take a public piss on the showroom floor if I had demanded it.

The situation reeked of hilarity and I found it delicious as a meal at Delmonicos.

It was my pleasure to finally tell the poor fellow that I was going over to a competitor’s establishment where I planned to spend an obscene amount of money.

I also had my secretary type a letter to the manager of that establishment detailing my displeasure with my first visit.

Next thing I knew, the offending salesperson was on the telephone gushing all kinds of apologies to me ….

I squared things with him and his manager …because, if you can believe it, I am really a nice person sometimes.

I finally got some stationery via phone and mail from Tiffany of New York. It was a very high rag content paper with a 14-karat letter “S” with a wreath of fig leaves around it embossed onto the paper and the emvelopes. I believe it cost me something like Twenty Five dollars for a set of two sheets of paper and an envelope. I believe I had purchased One Hundred sets of this stationery as a gift for my wife on our anniversary.

Later on she pissed me off … rather intentionally, I would imagine, by using the stationery to doodle on as she sat on the telephone with her friends.

But I secretly rejoiced in the power that my newly-acquired station in life had gotten for me.

Since those days, I have mellowed a little.

I no longer contemplate buying and bulldozing a small business because some idiot offends me.

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