Tuesday, October 10, 2006

10.10.06 Brother Can You Spare a Dime?

Okay, first off this post is in no way a request for money to be sent my way. Thank you in advance if you would have thought to do so; my purpose is, rather, the pissing and the moaning.

On the MLM. The big secretive company that sells the glyconutrient I decided to pursue further. The next step in my treatment program, then, as the standard medical arsenal is slowly exhausted on my cancer (more slowly please...), is to take this stuff "religiously" (below) and hope on the wings of a dove. Maybe some of what they claim will obtain for pancreatic cancer, stage IV, fucking serious as a heart attack, and late in the game. The only way to know is to try it. This is all past, I decided that part recently.

Turns out it will cost me nearly, no, more than a grand just to walk in the door "get all the necessary product to begin, [however] and actually that includes a five month supply of most of it." In MLM land, you don't describe your commodities in the plural — why, I'm not totally sure — but it's a consistent practice to discuss "product." "How much product have we got?" "Not enough! People are dying out there!" or something like that is what I imagine. Even if there are 16 different and unique products involved. There are more at issue here too, not just the magical mannose extracted from aloe vera plants and purported to do too many things to list here. (Not without sufficient caveats on the role of the FDA, our gratitude to them, and the implicit radical fear and loathing of that entire organization. This view, too, is as common in MLM land as calling what you sell "product.") So if I spend approx $1300 I can begin, and of course, they all tell me, they would really like to see me get on this ASAP. For my health of course, surely nothing so cynical as anyone's income stream. For me, a sort of quagmire.

The clear point is that the treatment plan of these nutritional supplements has been set up in such a way, perhaps with good intentions but still no doubt with business and profits in mind, so that a significant initial investment is required. This one "nice man" who had called me from the South to tell me his wife's success story — odd, don't you think?, that he calls me to discuss his wife's story... she can't talk? what? — and he tells me how he thinks the 10.99 pack, also called the Extended Pack, really what I should go for. In part I could feel his "sell level" elevate so I figured "If eleven dollars is the deluxe version, then I'll be able to manage." You see it coming don't you? 10-99 obviously stands for one thousand ninety nine dollars, just under 11 C notes. I'm an idiot, sitting there thinking "Hey, 10-99, not too bad." Not fucking chump change, this 1,099.00 when you are allowed to see where the comma goes. Yes enough to make me think twice about this whole set up.

Do I do it IN SPITE of all the signs I know too well about MLMs, about bullshit testimonials that are not ever verifiable, results that are not empirically checked, research not repeatable, and so on and so on and so on. How do the people involved not see all these holes in the package? How does their faith become so blind and robust? Religious extremists are the same, of any type, Christian, Zionist, Islamic, Protestant, any and all — extremism mixed with religion turns the future as an illusion into the future as sheer nightmare. And all the people who DO NOT worry about how close church and state have become since Bush and Boys started to do there thing in Washington. Another mind boggler. Not to see that danger?!

And the testimonials: god damn. I've told every one of them not to even start because the testimonials mean ZERO to me, they are nothing, less than nothing they might even alienate me, they are just stories, I don't know the people, the people have vested interests, YOUR COMPANY HIRED THEM, HELLO NUMBNUTS!, etc. They still just don't hear me and go on to talk about Aunt Melba, the doctor who is one of the "20 best" in the country. (Did you know there is an official list ranking the best doctors in the US? Right next to the sales paperwork on that bridge I was telling you about...) They tell, they tell, they droll onward, inhabit my ears w/o permission. One or two have enough sense to finally hear me after several very polite warnings from me.

Long and short: I'm deciding what to do. Onto the credit card? Am I going to do it anyway so I may as well get started? Is 200-300/month really so much for a 5-6 month treatment? Of course not if it reverses the disease course, but do you want to know what odds I'd bet on that. Right. I'm stuck? Ideas? Comments? Questions? I did finally get an MD's email address who supposedly knows this whole routine and has been involved since the start — yes, he's got a stake too but perhaps I can get some insight from him.

Ugh. I cannot go on with this tonight, and this after spending half the day at work in my office, experiencing several mini-revelations, slogging through far too much pain this afternoon, just the shits from about 2, and I had this work meeting at 3. Franky Scale then would get a 7 for my verve and anger, mixed in equal portions today, and for the a.m. hours when it all seemed more possible; then it drops to a low 6, just there, hanging, flacid, tired out for the day, as pain is just that, so goddam tiring and impolite.

Then that work thing. I do think those of you who work where I do should work, kindly, on getting me out there more: it's counterintuitive but there is some good to be realized from my sitting this skinny white ass down in that expensive chair to produce something.

Monday, October 09, 2006

10.09.06 What I Got to Tell

Frankly there are days when I don’t feel like blogging and telling you anything. I love you, don’t get me wrong. But at base, the frankest level of all, every day struggles in some form. What good does it do? Is it just the connection to you and the communicating of information? Is that sufficient, or is it necessary? Or do I have something “interesting” or worthwhile to say? What the hell is going on here every day? What am I getting closer to? And going through what to get there? Why does there still have to be this teleology? Why am I still looking for something, Something? It must just be the looking or a bad jonez, an addiction

(There was an Anonymous commenter.) On my relationship to anyone’s soul, let alone my own, and with due respect but still, a metaphor that must be extended: well, I have never seen myself as a gardener. I have some plants, but I always kill a few, so I always thought I was one who would spread shit around in the garden of the soul, which perhaps is a step in making it blossom, too. However, is there a link between spreading shit around and making any/one happy? This I didn’t realize, though some degree of support these days more than I expected — do you ever stop to think and expect such things, before the Tragedy arrives? — tells me that I might have at least had some friends who appreciate the shit-spreading. Ah, lucky me. Yet there is another theory, that my blog is actually related in a perverse way to Proust, this is my ironic theory (it has to be an absurd theory and comparison), and not to the quote (itself) on gardening. That is, it puts one to sleep, sends one into a dream world of memory and rest. That much at least could be true.

The MLM debacle, here an example of how an MLM could slow your life down. It could kill you — this might be a more accurate way to put it. Rather, what the salesman said over the phone, so urgently, so sincerely, was, “This’ll save yer life,” he says with his Utah accent. “You have got to start takin’ this product as soon as possible,” and his last name is Smith, another intimate Utah tie. This is an accent, I think, you simply have to know, you know it or you don’t know it. Why does it bother me? Well, to have someone call me up and take my time by talking down to me about how I’m not seeing what is so “clear and obvious” and all this “new science” he kept saying; to have a person telling me what will save my life in such an off-the-cuff manner simply put me off. I have decided to take these supplements, but not to buy into the MLM hype and life-saving BS ideology needed to sustain the motivation of a salesforce. I can rent and watch Glengarry Glen Ross anytime.

Despite this, I’m on my way and have made some calls, taken some calls, and off I go into the land of this “glyconutrient” called mannose, into a little road of hoping for something more. There’s got to be something more for me here down this little road, right? If nothing then nothing, and it’s a cruel circular logic that simply calls it what it is. Am I making any sense? If it helps and gets me along and heals me up at all then we’re getting somewhere. If not, there’s no other road to go down. So, again “so,” I’m rambling along and telling a very indirect story that has an ending picked out for it already. What the hell kind of story is that? I’m stuck with this task of trying to tell it as it happens, then tell it in some way so as to change its very narrative structure as it’s happening. Impossible in a quite different way from Tristram Shandy. Still, impossible. It’s what I’ve got to give. It’s all I got for now.