I don’t know much about computers, but I know opportunity when I smell it.
Too many people have been getting rich on this internet thing, and I can’t wait anymore and let it pass me by. So last week I answered a want ad on MonsterCareers.com, quit my job at the Sporty Shoe, and took the train to Boston. Naturally, Mr. Perkins was upset, since he was losing his best salesman. But sometimes you have to think big and explore your options.
The interview at Soup4U.com! is all set for tomorrow, and I think I’ve already got a place to live lined up. At the EarthyFoods SuperMart in Cambridge I met a nice woman named Eileen who has a room at her house that just opened up, real cheap. I’m really looking forward to eating healthy organic food from EarthyFoods. Not like the junk I used to eat back home in Connecticut.
Something funny happened this morning. The cabby who drove me to the interview was raving on and on about his rabid right-wing politics (“We need gun control! We need rent control!” He was all about control). Then, as we pulled up to the building, a funny feeling came over me. For some reason I can’t explain, I knew the next thing he was going to say would be true — I knew it with all my heart. It was like the voice of God. Just before I get out of the cab, he looked back and said, “Nice shoes, kid.” “Is that all?” I asked. He said, “If you want to make money, you need nuts.”
The interview went well enough. Naturally I had to be a little inventive about my marketing background, because who would give me a marketing job if they knew I had never had one before. How hard can it be, anyway? I think I sold them when I went on and on about how much I love soup. Every time I wanted to say “shoe” I just substituted “soup.” Simple! Internet startup, here I come!!
I got the job! I’ve settled into a routine in my new life here in Cambridge. I got the room at Eileen’s house. She lives with her boyfriend Colin, who happens to be from Hartford like me. I don’t think he likes me. He spends all his time trading old jazz records on eFlea.com (the online flea market auction site), but he says his true calling is ear-foot reflexology. It took me a while to figure it out, but it works like this: ear reflexologists understand your whole body by examining one ear. Foot reflexologists do the same thing with your foot. Ear-foot reflexologists can tell how you are by examining the tiny part of your ear that corresponds to your foot. Colin was really annoyed by the time he was done explaining it. When the FedEx guy showed up with a package for him, he jumped up and ran out of the room. Eileen gave an eyes-to-the-ceiling shrug and whispered “Pisces,” like that explained everything.
I headed out to EarthyFoods for some more groceries. Man, the food there is expensive! They don’t even have Froot Loops. I settled for Macrobiotic MegaMuesli and KarmaCow whole free-range milk. Next week I’m going to the BulkyMart. I’m tired of granola and leftover soup.
Work is going pretty well, except for my boss Mark yells at me a lot. I don’t think he likes me. My marketing job ends up being mostly lots of trips to KopyMat and OfficeWorld, and since I don’t have a car I’m spending a lot of money on cabs. I sent an email to a customer today where I forgot to put the exclamation point on “Soup4U.com!” and Mark lectured me for like an hour about how I personally am wrecking his stock options and how they only hired me because of my shoes, but it was a big mistake. This is the first I heard about the options. I’m not sure if I have any or not. I’m still trying to figure out how they work.
When I got home, Colin was getting another FedEx shipment, and he kind of snorted at me and stomped upstairs. My milk had been removed from the fridge and dumped into my dirty clothes basket. There was a little note taped on the empty carton that said “MILK MAKES MUCUS!!!! THERE CAN BE NO MILK IN THIS HOUSE!!!!”
Eileen took me aside and said she was sorry she hadn’t told me they were strict ovo-lacto intolerant vegetarians. She also told me that even though she works at a copy store part time to pay the bills, what she really wants to do is own a health foods store and practice ayurvedic neuro-linguistic homeopathy. It took me a while to figure it out but she has all these little bottles of what looks like water that she says can change your mood. She gave me one labeled “Quixotic hope.” It tasted like water to me.
Mark got fired yesterday, because Gary the systems guy figured out that his whole hard-drive was nothing but naked pictures. My new boss, Ed, likes me even less than Mark did, as far as I can tell. I asked him about the options thing, and he screamed “Is money all you can think about at a time like this, Shoe-boy?!” I heard from Gary that he has a lot of options.
When I got home, I tried to make small talk with Colin. He was very grumpy because he was expecting a FedEx shipment. I asked him how the foot-ear thing was going, and he said “Ear-foot! It’s ear-foot reflexology, you milk-drinker!” Pisces, I guess. Anyway, he agreed to look at my ear for a while. It was very calming, and after a minute of probing my ear lobe he made a surprised “hmmmph!” noise, gave me a sharp look and said “Do you have any stock options?”
Still no options. I don’t think I can get rich if I don’t have options, but I’m not sure. Gary told me that Soup4U.com! almost got bought out by the vertical food portal StuffYourFace.com, but the deal fell through because they got bought by VerticalFoodPortal.com. Now the KopyMat people won’t let me in the door anymore because our company stopped paying the bills. I had to go across town to the KopyKing, but my old boss Mark was working the counter there, so I kept going until I got to KuckooForKopies where Eileen works. Only she wasn’t there.
I found her when I got home. She looked completely distraught, like she had been crying for hours. She had caught Colin with the FedEx guy that afternoon. He swore he was doing a quick reflexology session, but I guess that didn’t explain what they were doing when she found them. I felt bad for her, so I said, “Why don’t you take one of those little drinks of yours so you can cheer up?” She kind of sobbed and said “It’s just water! I just pour water in there and write stuff on the label!” I was thirsty so I drank down one called Karmic Bliss.
Howard, the CEO, called us all in this morning and told us that Soup4U.com! was folding. He said that SoupySales.com had been first to market, and we never got into the game. I thought he was going to give us our paychecks, since I hadn’t been paid in a month, plus I had a wallet-full of cab receipts, but he just said “Sorry, there’s no money left. That’s it.” After the meeting, I went up to Howard and asked him straight out about the options. He laughed a little and said “There’s no more company… that’s it. Go home!” but I kept after him. After a while he said sure, he’d give me some options if it would make me feel better, and he sat down at his desk and wrote something up for me. I was too shy to ask him to explain to me how it all worked, but at least I got my options. I can figure it out later.
I decided to go back home. On the cab ride to the train station I had the same cabby as when I first showed up in Boston. I asked him if he remembered me, and he said, “Sure, you’re the kid with the nice shoes who stiffed me last June. Didn’t I tell it to you straight?” Mr. Perkins was sure glad to see me (just in time for the back-to-school rush), plus I was back in Hartford for only a few days when I saw a notice in the business pages: “Nuts2U.com acquires resuscitated Soup4U.com! to make dining megaportal Soup2Nuts.com.” It took me a while to figure it out, but my options are looking better all the time.