November 21st, 2017

The Stench

Posted: March 19, 2005.

Dark side. Everyone has it. Or at least I think everyone has it, because I have one. It makes it more acceptable… tolerable, if you know its not only you, if you think everyone has that darkness element about him/her. The trouble is, I do not know for a fact if everyone carries the curse. Everyday, I get to interact with at least one person, who puts my whole premise to justify my own dark side in doubt.

Now, I have been a professional salesperson for almost half a decade now, and over time you learn to tell if the guy across the table took in a good first impression of you. You do that, trying to make a good first impression on new people, for half a day everyday, you end up learning a whole lot about people and their reactions. If you are allowed to stay a sales person for long enough, which almost always only happens if you left a good first impression on more than half the people you tried to make an impression on, you start looking at a different person in the mirror. This is the stage where the first signs of narcissism make an appearance. Its a downhill ride from there – fast, fun and possibly fatal. At the end of this ride, what remains is sales, what is dead is the person.

Do not get me wrong. This is not one of those tirades against the poor sales people. Most people subscribe to that stereotype of a conniving, fast-talking, not-to-be-trusted, unscrupulous second hand car salesman. It is not about salespeople as generally understood by the term. I know it is a cliche`, but it is also a fact, we are all salespeople, selling ourselves, our images, our self-portraits. Its about people, like yours untruly, who lose sight of who they are, and start believing their own lies about themselves – lies they have been telling others, so these others like them. You see, once you start believing those lies, you stop looking at the rot prevalent in you, because you are too busy admiring the beauty of your self portrait.

Then one find morning you are taken by surprise by the stench that emanates from one of your own comments. There comes a time when you are appalled by the crudity and ugliness of one of your own actions. One fine morning, the smokescreen you had erected is shattered, and you find yourself staring in disbelief at an ugly soul laid bare, a soul that you had come to believe was beautiful and fragrant. Its not as if you were not aware of its presence, its just that you had never thought you would come face to face with it ever again.

Your smirk, that hallmark of arrogant self-righteousness, is wiped off in a fraction of a second. The ugly soul sniggers, baring its fangs. You recoil, and you run. But there is nowhere to run to. It is inside you, and it is with you. But you run, and you run, until nausea takes over, and you bend over and you throw up. The ugly soul sniggers on, and the stench hits you one again. As the line between conscious and unconscious blurs, you see that ugly soul take up that brush and paint you another smokescreen. It leads you to believe that it was your strength of character that led you through the labyrinth of yourself to help you discover your own ugliness. You buy into that lie wholesale, because you need to. Soon enough you have taken up another brush and you are painting that self portrait more skillfully than the last time. Soon enough, that smokescreen, your portrait is complete.

There comes the morning after then, the morning you wake up and look at your smug self in the mirror, and hum a happy tune. Your transformation is complete. You have made the biggest sale of your life. You have sold yourself on that idea, and made a repeat customer out of yourself. The crucial metamorphosis of the “salesperson” into just “Sales” is complete, the person is dead, and what remains is the stench.

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