Video contains offensive language — JB
“Sweetie, please don’t tell them I’m a car dealer.”
“They already know Steve. Oh, before I forget, Jeff will be asking you where to find a cheap transmission for his Dodge Caliber.”
“Hmmm… you know what? I think maybe I should change my name to Siri. I could have the guys pull my finger and the women…”
“No you won’t! And don’t go on about fixing Johnson Valves and torquing your nuts. And please, don’t brag about your John Holmes drill either.”
The truth is I never say any of these things. At least when I’m sober. I’m way too nice of a guy in real life.
However, I’m also not much for conversation at party gatherings when it comes to cars.
Movies? I love em’.
Sports? I don’t mind, but love there has come and gone.
Politics? Religion? Well, throw in sex and I may just swim through that morass of moralism.
Cars I deal with all day. I drive em’, buy em’, fix em, fix them again, detail them, and then I get the pleasure of having them sit and molderize before sending them down the road.
One interesting by-product of the variety of my work over the years, is that I can be introduced in different ways at parties. My brother Paul, who can read social signals better than anyone I have ever met, is particularly good at figuring out who can add what value to a conversation at a party. He’s what we refer to in my business as a ‘connector’. Always bringing people together, and managing it all like it’s a natural by-product of socializing.
The way he introduces yours truly at these parties is almost always a signal.
“That’s my brother Steve. He sells cars.” – My brother Paul, bless his ever so cunning Long Island heart, has a wonderful way of helping me avoid unwanted conversations.
Just let em’ know that I’m a used car salesman.
Used car salesmen are extreme social lepers in social gatherings where status has any level of importance. It’s like saying you’re a telemarketer or an IRS agent. Just watch your audience recoil and let Mother time handle the rest.
“That’s my brother Steve. He’s into cars.” – Now I get to be in problem solving mode. Chances are the person needs to buy a car or has a mechanical issue with their vehicle. If I’m familiar with it, great. If not, I just refer them to enthusiast sites for the given brand and model.
Nearly every time I buy a used vehicle that hasn’t been in my inventory for a while, I will revisit these forums and type in “most miles”. Weird hobby, but I just enjoy hearing stories about cars that are kept for the long haul.
“That’s my brother Steve. He used to own an auction.” – Until 2010 I had a 50% share of the profits of an auto auction in South Atlanta. I wound up picking the wrong partner (long story there), but the by-product of this is that Paul is trying to draw me into a conversation that will likely either involve buying or selling.
It’s a good opportunity to tell stories about $21 Dodge Daytonas or a $20,000 Vladimir Kagan tables, depending on your audience.
“That’s my brother Steve. He’s the auctioneer.” – I used to work in the auction staff of five to seven different auctions. All of which were weekly deals except for a powersport sale (think motorcycles and ATV’s) which was once a month. I started out a ringman, worked my way into becoming an auctioneer at public and impound auctions, and eventually became a remarketing manager for a few years at Capital One Auto Finance.
If I’m introduced this way, the hidden signal I’m given is to entertain. Someone will likely ask how I do an auction chant, or how to get a great deal. Harmless questions, with plenty of good stories to share.
“This is Steve. He’s a writer.” – My wife is pretty good at letting me leave the orbit of the car business. Her friends are writers, artists, intellectuals… and moms.
A lot of us have worn the hats of different professions and personal interests. Accountants, zoologists, botanists, the world we dwell in is as varied and unique as pizzas with pineapples and anchovies. So let me share a thought with you folks. What work have you done? And if you can vaguely recall, what was the reaction of your audience when you shared it with them? Feel free to throw in former girlfriends, loved ones and those ever so judgmental parents into the usual party mix.