by Warren Blair
My door says Gerald Barnett, Ph.D., Motivational Consultant. I teach people how to be less or more passive or aggressive, as their need would indicate, and I motivate them to get that dream job, big sales appointment -whatever. Most of my clients are young executive types; so when he walked in, I wasn't surprised.
He had the typical look, about 30-35, tall (a little taller than most guys that didn't play basketball -- that should have given me a hint, maybe), rugged good looks, etc., etc.
He was exceedingly polite in his greeting to me, and I sized him up quickly as needing to be de-passified. I was quite unprepared for his request, however.
"I wish to meet and speak with the President," he said.
"Which president?," I replied (you know, like the president of IBM, GM, something like that).
"THE President," he retorted.
"The President of the United States?"
"But why come to me for that?"
"Because I understand that you are the best, and what I wish to tell him is for his ears only. So I cannot afford to have to speak to all the secretaries, assistants, and the like, trying to get through to him. Everyone would insist on knowing my purpose, and I cannot reveal it."
I wasnt sure that this was something I wanted to tackle as, to be quite honest, I did not know what this fellow's intentions might be.
"I really cannot help you, sir," I said, "as your success might mean disaster for myself and the government. I do not know who you are or, no offense meant, what type of person you are."
"I assure you, Dr. Barnett, that my intentions are completely harmless but of the utmost importance. Perhaps one million dollars" -- which he produced on the spot! -- "would help to change your mind?"
It was then that I said one of the most amazing things I can ever remember myself saying.
"I'm sorry, but I would still have to know your reason, and if I find that it is indeed worthwhile, and you can convince me of your character, I will keep the information in confidence and do my best to assist you. If not, then I will have to ask that you leave."
At that, he reached up to scratch the top of his head, and his problem became almost immediately apparent to me.
* * *
"Before you ever do that again," I said, "we have much to discuss, and you to learn."
Convinced of his character, and the importance of his quest (and, I must admit, the million dollars did not influence me either way), I set about planning our course of action.
"Getting through some of the initial buffers should be simple with some aggressive assertive training," I said. "As we get higher on the Executive Branch ladder, I can call in some favors, and I have certain contacts that can be of assistance. As your financial reserves seem to be virtually unlimited, I can assure you that you will attain your goal of speaking to the President.
"However, I must stress that you should not do that again until you are actually speaking with the President himself, and not even then without prior warning. You must build up to things gradually before making such a move. And I cannot emphasize enough that you must be alone with him before you do it (and I could say this knowing firsthand the result)."
"The next few seconds after you have done it will be the most critical. Even with prior warning, he will be stunned when you remove the head mask. The reddish-orange skin might not frighten him terribly, but the third eye and mandibles almost certainly will." *
Story copyright ©1995 Warren Blair.
Illustration copyright © 1995 Ron Tedeschi.
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