Monthly Archives: June 2013

Salesmanship As We Know It

The first four years of All My Clones collected in a book now available at

A spotlight centered on a microphone stand in the middle of the darkened stage.  A figure strode up to the microphone and spoke in a low rumble.  “Iron. Heavy.  Hemingway. Light.  Profound, isn’t it?”

The crowd of sales representatives went wild as Iron Hemingway took the stage and screamed through its one-hit wonder from 30 years ago.  The crowd danced and gyrated, even the reps who were born years after the band fell off the hit parade charts.

Rupert Madasheck inserted his earplugs as subtlely as he could and texted ‘Do they really like this stuff @ sales mtgs?’

Gamela Nuryandi looked at Rupert two feet away and at her team of sales reps on the dance floor.  She smiled and texted, ‘They luv this band!’  She added a few emoticons and hit Send.

Rupert frowned, shook his head, and texted back, ‘Do they realize most will be laid off 2morrow?’

Gamela put her hand over her mouth and nodded.  She texted, ‘Why not let them enjoy 1 last fling?’  She glanced out over the crowd, following some of the dancers as the band played its one hit for the seventh time.

Three hours later, Rupert and Gamela left the banquet hall and went into a conference room.  Rupert shut the door, fidgeted nervously, and asked, “Now that we can hear again, could I ask if you’ll have any sales force left over?”

Gamela groaned, sat down, and said, “Tomorrow I’ll lose 75% of them.  I wonder how many more will quit.  Can’t Research make more drugs?  We can sell anything but we need actual drugs to sell.  Now that we can’t spend anything on swag or gifts to physicians, we have plenty of budget left over.”

Rupert paced the room and growled.  “I blame the FDA.  Our drugs are fine as far as I know.  They haven’t killed anyone in clinical trials lately.  But now they complain about ‘efficacy’ and stuff like that.”

“I don’t understand much about all that,” Gamela confessed.  “After the FDA approves ‘em, we sell ‘em.  Someday could you explain how drugs get developed and approved?”

Rupert looked away at the closed conference room door and sighed.  “No, I don’t think so.  Remember I started out selling beauty supply products.”

Gamela leaned back in her chair.  “No!  Really?  How did you get from beauty supply to pharmaceuticals?”

Rupert sat down and leaned close.  “Reverse merger.[1]  I woke up and found myself CEO of a pharma company!”

“But now all my sales force will wake up and find themselves left out on the curb.  I still don’t understand why we need to cut back that much.”

“Your own sales people told you they were getting turned away at the door, right?” Rupert asked.

Gamela sighed.  “Yes, ever since that Dr. Evans spread the word about how to keep sales reps out of doctors’ offices.[2]  They don’t even take our notepads or laser pens any more.  They’d rather waste their time on seeing patients than get the information they really need.  What happens when the nation’s physicians are ignorant of our life-saving drugs and deplete their stock of Cappuccino Pharmaceuticals coffee mugs?”

“Think how bad it must be for all the other companies,” Rupert said.  “It’s not just sales forces, either.  The US pharma industry already laid off about 6400 people this year and it’s only June.”[3]

Gamela sobbed.  “Rupert, that isn’t the least bit consoling.”

Rupert put his hand on her shoulder.  “Well, it’s unbecoming of a professional to cry.  After all, I still have a job.”

Gamela jumped back.  “How is that supposed to help, you insensitive lout?”

“What I mean is, I can’t stop the layoffs here at Cappuccino.  But I can make exceptions.”

“You are planning to keep me employed, aren’t you?” Gamela asked.

“It looks like you are keeping yourself employed without my help,” Rupert said as he closed his eyes.

Outside the conference room, the intensity of the sales meeting swelled as Iron Hemingway  began playing their hit for the 97th time.

[1] Yes, this can happen!  Look up Venus Beauty Supply and Fermavir Pharmaceuticals.

[2] Evans et al., “Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Lessons Learned from a Pharma-Free Practice Transformation,”available at

[3] As reported by Pharmalot at

Rupert and the Rubber Romper Room

Sarah smiled sweetly in all her teenage innocence, batted her very first fake eyelashes at Rupert, and asked, “Have you seen Daddy’s rubber room yet?”

Rupert was so surprised that the peas fell off his knife. “Uh, what? I, er, no. No, I haven’t.”

“Oh, it’s OK,” Sarah said.  “Daddy shows it to everyone who visits.”  She resumed eating her spinach daintily.

Rupert looked across the oaken dining room table at Betty, then at their host.  “I, um, that is.  Ms. Lidalot and I came here to discuss possibly merging our company and your father’s.  Not to, um.”  He forked a chunk of turkey into his mouth.

“Oh, pay Sarah no mind,” Clarence Clegg said.  “She likes shocking her elders.”

Rupert laughed.  “Oh.  So there’s no, um, no rubber…”

“Why, yes, of course there’s my rubber room,” Clarence boomed.  “Would you like to see it?”

Sarah brightened.  “Daddy does piercings, too.”  She looked between Rupert and Betty.  “He taught me how to do my own.  Do you have any?”

Rupert shivered.  “Ouch!  Certainly not.”

“Rupert,” Betty warned.  “Mind your manners.”

Clarence frowned at Sarah.  “Let’s not discuss your latest-”

“Would you like to see my booby pin?”

“Bzwxtlfump,” Rupert said as his peas fell off his knife again. “Is that-did you…That’s sick!”

“It has a ruby in the middle and goes through both-”

Mrs. Falla Clegg laughed loudly enough to drown out Sarah.   “Well, there aren’t many piercings kids can do that would shock anyone any more.”

Clarence pushed himself away from the table.  “We won’t be let alone in peace so we might as well do the tour of the chamber now.  Then we can get to business.”  He led Betty and Rupert down into the basement and to a door labeled ‘Torture Chamber.’  After some fumbling with a large ring of keys, he opened three different locks with a crash and slowly eased the door open.  “I assume you are already familiar with the standard toys.  You know.  Blindfolds, handcuffs, whips, clamps, electrodes.”

“Do you keep horses?” Betty asked.  “Look at all those riding crops.”  She looked at the roaring fire with hot coals.

“Oh, no, that’s for my special friends,” Clarence said.

“That’s psycho!” said Rupert as he looked around the rubber-walled room.

“Not true!” Clarence boomed.  “All of my favorite BDSM activities are perfectly normal.”

“Normal?” asked Betty.  “As far as I understand, they are clearly linked to mental disorders and psychopathology.”

“Again, not true,” said Clarence.  “As a matter of fact, researchers in the Netherlands clearly demonstrated that we BDSMers are no more or less prone to mental disorders than control groups of boring normal people. [1]  We even scored better in several categories including wellbeing and awareness.”  He led the way back upstairs, where Sarah and Falla waited with cups of lavender crème brulee.

“It is the policy of Cappuccino Pharmaceuticals not to pry into people’s personal lives,” Rupert said with a shaken stutter.  “I have never met anyone so, um, so open about such an unusual hobby.  What kinds of people, um, er, partake in your, um, festivities.”

Falla laughed.  “You’d think it was the dregs from Reefer Madness, wouldn’t you?”  Rupert nodded.

“As a matter of fact,” Clarence said, “most of us here in the BDSMalibu community are doctors, lawyers, and nurses.  And CEOs like me.”

Betty shook her head.  “Well, if BDSM really isn’t a mental illness, what is?  Anything?”

Falla cleared her throat.  “According to someone from Oxford University, religious fundamentalism is.”

Rupert grabbed a napkin and prevented his dessert from escaping across the table.  “What?”

“Mother, businesspeople aren’t supposed to talk about religion or politics,” Sarah said.

“Oh, bother,” said Falla. “I’m not businesspeople, and this is now medical rather than religion.”  She faced Betty.  “Someone named Kathleen Taylor from Oxford said that someday we might treat fundamentalism of any religion as a curable disease.” [2]

“All those people who are so rabidly against gay marriage and stuff?” Sarah asked.

Falla smiled sweetly.  “Yes, dear, just so.  Someday the tables may turn and they will gay away the pray.”

Rupert brightened.  “We are in the business of developing therapeutics, you know,” he said.  “We can come up with a nebulizer and… Wait for it…”

Betty groaned and said, “Spray away the pray.”

[1] SOURCE: The Journal of Sexual Medicine, online May 16, 2013.

[2] Religious Fundamentalism Could Be Treated As A Mental Illness, says Oxford researcher: