Sell Me This Pen: A 2021 Story
During one of my recent home-alone lockdowns, I watched The Wolf of Wall Street for the third or fourth time and have become fixated by the scene at the top of the movie.
A presumably reformed Jordan Belfort is introduced to a crowd of wannabe tycoons looking forward to advise from the bad boy of fast fortunes.
Belfort, convincingly played by Leonardo DiCaprio, walks on stage in an un-tucked evening shirt and new blue jeans to a round of applause. He stops sighs and studies the space very similar to a hungry carnivore, surveying meat.
He quietly steps down from the stage and approaches several anxious attendees within the front row and holds up his pen.
“Sell me this pen,” he asks.
As they stumble with various pedestrian responses, “Um… it’s a tremendous pen,” “Well, it is a nice pen,” and “I personally love this pen.” I found myself chiming in from the couch, “C’mon, you’ll do better than that!” I eventually posed the question to myself.
How would I sell that pen?
That pen is power. It makes communication tangible and memorable. It’s a part of an ingenious process that physically engages the quite 30 muscles within the human hand within the act of inspiration and influence.
That pen is how we organize and formulate our thoughts into universally recognizable symbols. it’s proof of concept, napkin math, and back-of-envelope calculations.
It’s the dotting of I’s and therefore the crossing of t’s during a universal plan to teach, train and elucidate. That pen is our bayonet within the deep, dark trenches of selling and persuasion.
I soon realized, however, that I can not consider this pen an equivalent way that I did last year. Illness, death, pandemics, riots, and large job losses have changed things. This has been a tough year for many; I’m no exception.
2021 has tested our mettle, challenged our sensibilities. And conjured up tribal coping skills that few modern generations have had to muster.
We all experienced that transcendent moment within the second week of April once we came face-to-face with the Bubonic gaze of our 14th-century ancestors.
As we masked up, holed up, and obsessed about our blood heat – the planet became an area of them and us. The hoarders and therefore the hand-wringers – the Wile E. Coyotes and therefore the Chicken Littles.
Core proved soulless and indiscriminate; an alien body that slipped into large cities and little towns, creeping surreptitiously like ‘the blob’ seeping through the aisles of the Colonial Theater.
We dutifully distanced and disembarked from our fellow man. Self-imprisoned Rapunzels shrinking in our makeshift towers – we zoomed and remoted, uploaded and downloaded during a daily ritual that became unedited and unkempt.
The world of touch was suddenly suspect. Light switches, doorknobs, keys, and buttons became Ground Zero for respiratory droplets. We ordered from Amazon but were scared of the delivery boxes. We braved the grocery but stressed over the cardboard reader.
Counted 14 days from every casual encounter with the postman and therefore the check-out girl. Had pandemic planners, blue surgical gloves, and N-95 masks but would have readily surrendered our kingdom for a few toilet tissue.
As our minds and bodies fell apart and our relationships disintegrated, there have been no trend lines to trace the spread of sadness and desolation.
So how would I sell this pen in 2021?
I might say it’s our chance to once more wrap our glove-less fingers around the palpable, tactile joys of life. It is a means by which to pour our internal monologue of hope onto a page and re-create the poetry of proximity.
It’s our opportunity to tug the chairs closer, peel up the footprint decals, and refill the theaters and restaurants with the gorgeous unmasked faces of humanity.
This pen is self-determination. it is a means to draft a far better ending – to exit this Truman Show and venture beyond the dome where simulation ends and slow dances begin.
This is often how we discover our way home and crash the demarcation lines of safe distance to return to the gorgeous chaos of reckless togetherness. If you do not buy this pen immediately in 2021 then you, my friend, do not believe in comebacks.
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