I question, where do our abilities come from? Some are learned as academic subjects in school, which most of us use to earn our living. However, there are people who it seems are born with talents, inherited in their genes passed down from prior generations. For example: art, music, the ability to learn multiple languages, just to name a few. I understand these natural abilities can be improved by great teachers, and hours of practice. However, not so with me! It just seems to happen!
I have two natural abilities!
- Thinking on my feet. This was a must in my sales career. It is an ability which dates back to my first school days, whenever the teacher asked me what I was doing? I always had a quick answer. It may not have always been true, but it kept me out of trouble.
In my mind, I also did sit-coms, seeing pig’s ears and a snout on the teacher for fun! Nobody taught me this? It just seem to come to me!
- Telling outlandish stories, with a straight face, just for fun. Also, just came to me!
For instance: At 23 when I came to America I was invited to a party high on Lookout Drive in Hollywood. Starlets, mostly in their twenties, outnumbered men 5 to 1. My English accent was a big plus with American girls, and soon I had a bevy of beautiful young women paying me lots of attention. One in particular, who looked like a young Marilyn Monroe, separated me from the group and took me outside to show me the view of the Hollywood lights.
“So, Alan, what do you do for a living?”
With a straight-face, I said, “I’m a Brain Surgeon.”
“Aren’t you very young to be a Brain Surgeon, Alan?”
“I did it as a correspondence course, my dear!”
“How do they do that?”
Wondering how far I could go with this empty-headed beauty,
I answered, “They send a head through the mail!”
As suspected, she bought the whole story. By the time I left the party I had a hand full of phone numbers. I guess they all wanted to date and be seen with a rich young English Brain Surgeon!
A few years later while still single, I had two large dogs: A German Shepard and a Collie. I discovered that while walking them in parks, it was a great way to meet girls!
Our local Grocery Store had a special on dog food. I loaded the shopping cart with five cases of caned dog food, with two huge thirty-pound-bags of kibble on top. The cashier, who looked less than five feet tall, had to stand to one side of the loaded cart to speak to me.
“What type of dogs do you have?” she asked.
“A Chihuahua!” I answered nonchalantly.
“Do you think I’m stupid?” she said pulling a quizzical face.
“Oh no! Not at all, miss! It’s not an American Chihuahua! It’s a 350 pound Chihuahua from the Southern Borneo Jungle.”
I paid the checker, who had a very confused look on her face. Then I pushed my loaded cart forward, allowing the next person to stand in front of the cashier.
I heard her tell the customer. “That’s what I like about this job. I learn something new every day!”
Here’s another Example:
My wife and I decided to take our Thanksgiving Dinner to a friend’s cabin at Mammoth Mountain in the Sierras. Driving into the village she remembered she had forgotten peas and ice cream.
“Norma, let’s stop at that little convenience store.”
On entering the store, we were greeted by a huge woman, who must have been four-hundred pounds.
You know Wills? I think. I bet this woman has been on every kind of diet!
I put the frozen peas and ice cream on the counter in front of her.
She sneered, saying, ”That’s not much of a Thanksgiving Dinner!”
I couldn’t resist “Oh no miss! It’s a new diet I saw in the L.A. Times!”
Norma, put her hand over her mouth, to hide her laugh, and with watery eyes, said “I have to go to the car, Alan!”
When I got to the car Norma was still beside herself. ”Why do you do that? And with a dead-pan face yet!”
“Just a little fun, my love! However, I bet she takes home frozen peas and ice cream to start one more diet!”
Now in the autumn of my years, having worn out many outlandish stories with a straight face on my wife! I am on a mission to disarm the annoying salespeople who always call at dinnertime. I have written scripts for most of their phony pitches.
The carpet cleaning sales pitch: “I’m so glad you called!” which usually leaves the person on the other end speechless.
I ask, “Can you get blood out of a carpet?”
“No problem sir!”
“The blood covers about six feet by twenty-two inches!”
This always brings silence, from the other end, followed by a hang-up!
Any product, sales call: “Can you speak up?” To which they usually double their volume. “I’m still having trouble hearing you!” By now they are shouting.
“You don’t have to shout. I’m not deaf you know!” The now familiar click ends the call.
Another, any product call: “Look feller, we just sat down to dinner! I really want to hear about what you are selling! Give me your home phone number, I’ll call you tomorrow at your dinner time, I promise!” Once more the now familiar click ends the call.
I have at least a dozen scripts memorized, which make dinner time fun!
I have no talent for Music or Languages! However, I thank the Lord for blessing me with my ability to think on my feet, and with my somewhat strange sense of humor! Therefore, I believe God must have a sense of humor!
By Alan Wills
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