I received an email this morning from somebody called Brian, asking me to register my blog with his service, which links 'interesting' blogs with company websites in order to promote them. I think Brian must be American, because he tells me that he has already paid out thousands of dollars to 'interesting' bloggers who have taken up his offer.
I also think that Brian may not have looked too hard at my posts before sending me this once-in-a-lifetime offer, because I feel sure that most American corporations would think twice before associating themselves with a British blog which regularly attacks American 'foreign policy' (now there's a concept!), and the slavish way that Britain marches into whatever country that the USA tells it to, with it's head stuck firmly up the arse of Uncle Sam. I don't think many companies would like my frequent use of foul language and obscenities either.
Actually, with the rise of Barak Obama and the fall of the mighty dollar, we don't feel quite so obliged to spend billions of pounds on new adventures which might be better spent on hospices, schools, or even food, but we still have not yet finished paying off the debt incurred by the involvement of the US in WW2, let alone the one incurred by all those intelligent young men on the Wall Street stock exchange.
Absolutely nothing works so well when trying to get others to see your point of view or sign up to whatever money-making scheme you have dreamt up as flattery. I know a couple of people (and one in particular) who have made a career out of flattering everyone and anyone they meet, and I am ashamed to say that my attitude toward this one particular person is the closest I ever come to actually hating someone. Over the 35 years or so of knowing her, I have witnessed her destroy at least 20 people's lives, but I know that there have been many more. Of course, all those people have gone on to rebuild their working and social lives, but at what cost. I cannot think of her without getting myself into an extremely agitated and unhealthy state of mind, so I will leave her by quoting the last thing I said to her when she asked me what I wanted from her: "What I want is to get you as far away from my life as possible". Oh, and I ought to mention that she was never anything more than a 'friend' and employee to me, just in case you get the wrong idea.
When people are simply trying to survive in the world - whether it be financially, emotionally or socially - they are, by definition, in a vulnerable state. You can either mug them, or take a softer approach to exploiting them, if this is your intention from the outset.
That book you are desperate to get published? It's a very good one, and it deserves to get published. In fact, I would go so far as saying that your book is the most brilliant manuscript that I have not bothered to read in all my years outside of the publishing industry. Just give me $300, and I will not bother to even think about you again, you are that brilliant.
You lost your husband and sons in the First World War? I know they are thinking of you, and if you give me 10 shillings, I will call them up in a seance.
Of course, the banks just mug us - they have long-since given up on the velvet glove. When I went out on the £92 drinking spree with my friend Bev, the conversation inevitably got around to personal finance and banking in general. Bev is of West Indian extraction, and as such has some colourful expressions in her repertoire. She was talking about the nightmare problems she is experiencing right now to do with juggling her disability allowance (she has a very rare condition which makes it difficult to walk) with her student loan, and the banks have been far from helpful in sorting them out - just the opposite.
After a couple of glasses of wine, she said in a loud voice in the small garden which was packed with families enjoying an Easter lunch: "At least when they used to fuck you up the arse, they used a bit of grease - now they just fuck you up the arse DRY!"