Tomorrow I go to insurance sales school for three days. This is something I have yet to wrap my head around. Of all the things I saw myself doing in my life, selling insurance wasn’t one of them. Then again, neither was peddling removable tattoos, or working at a chicken slaughterhouse, or running the concession stand at the world’s tiniest traveling circus, or photographing high school sports. Like the Mary Celeste, abandoned and crewless, I drift from one place to another, never knowing where I’ll make landfall next. When it comes to planning my life, I’m a complete fuck-up.
The school requires business attire. My stage clothes, the nearest things I have to formal dress, probably don’t fit the bill. A cowboy shirt with embroidered roses on it? Two-tone shoes? Fortunately, my mother is always buying me button-up shirts and giving them to me at every family get-together, so I’m okay in that department. Pants are another matter. Most of mine have holes in the pockets, or frayed cuffs, and Mr. Whiskers has seen fit, for reasons known only to him, to urinate on one of my better pairs. The rest will have to come from the stage wardrobe: two skinny ties (the only ones with knots already in them; like most men, I’ve never mastered the Windsor Knot), my seersucker stage jacket and a pair of used five dollar dress shoes that I’ve worn to far too many memorial services lately. I’ll look like a cross between Elvis Costello and the Rolling Stones’ under assistant west coast promo man. The sideburns defiantly stay the course, as does the wallet with the trucker chain.
I wonder if I should take my guitar and camera. The classes last all day, and I have no idea what there is to do in Hickory after 8 pm. I could drive back and forth to Greensboro every day, but they’re going to put us up in a hotel, so I could save gas by staying overnight. I hope my roommate is someone I can tolerate. They probably won’t be as cool as the woman I shared a room with when I was teaching at the Southern Girls Rock n’ Roll Camp, but hopefully they won’t be some over-the-top salesperson type either.
Up to this point, my most successful stint as a salesperson was selling tickets to a Boy Scout jamboree when I was in middle school. The prize for selling 50 tickets was a teensy-weensy survival stove, and for some reason I really wanted that stove. So I dutifully put on my uniform and went through the neighborhood knocking on doors. Lo and behold, I actually did sell 50 tickets and win the stove, only to be disappointed when it turned out the fuel tablets would be completely exhausted before they could even heat a cup of water to lukewarm temperature; just another experience that reinforced my already pessimistic nature towards hard work and humanity.
God, I hope I survive the next three days.