Overqualified: If you want to sing out, sing out.


To: Danny Carey, Danny Carey's Insurance Agency
Re: Insurance Agent

Danny,

I am writing to apply for the position of Life Insurance Sales Agent with your agency, and I have included my resume, which details my years of experience, as well as my years of schooling in Insurance Law.

But my resume doesn't explain what I have to offer the agency on a personal level. What will your customers be dealing with on a face to face basis? Well, I'm someone that they can relate to. I used to be them. I put every cent of my money into investments, into insurance. I devoted my life to planning for the future. I obsessed over what might happen. I needed contingency plans. I needed plans B, C and D.

And there's nothing wrong with that. What's good for you in the short term is often less than acceptable in the long term. Going home with the girl who has been making eyes at you across the bar is fine right now, but in two weeks you might be standing embarassed in line at the pharmacy, looking for crab treatment. And that's one of the better scenarios.

This was how I used to think. I spent hours at the library, with the most recent medical journals, running risk management statistics on blow jobs. I used to grill girls on their recent sexual history, and demand to see STD testing documentation.

I was single for a very long time.

I used to devote my time to personal forms of life insurance, to eating well, to making careful decisions, never taking risks. And while I was focusing my attention on the short term, on avoiding clear risks, it didn't occur to me that I was already afflicted with a terminal disease.

It didn't occur to me until a car drove through the front of my house, stopping inches from my head, almost killing me. A hooker stumbled out of it, a bomb strapped to her stomach, counting down from five minutes. Lice crawling through her hair as she threated me with a rusty crowbar that had used needles taped to the end, She tied me down and fucked me without a condom. She wasn't going to leave until I came inside her, she said, and the clock kept counting down. Afterward, when she was climbing back into the car, I asked her if she was on the pill, and she laughed at me. She backed out onto the front lawn and exploded to death. I got a little cut on my face, from glass.

Being alive meant that I would one day die, and there was nothing I could do to prevent that. There were no contingency plans for old age, and I would have devoted my life to what? To making sure I could survive just a little while longer, so I could devote a little more time to the vain hope that I might live forever?

Fuck that. What if this life was all there was? When I got to the end, and it was gone, what if my only experiences were sitting in libraries and turning down offers for dates? A general feeling of apprehension is a human experience, sure, but I'd got my share of that one already. What about terror and guilt and fear and excitement? What if I died without ever realizing that I was going to die?

And that's what I can offer your customers. I can give them the assurance that they are going to die. There won't be any "good day, sir" and no "have you looked at the different packages we have available?" My pitch will be simple. The door will open and I will say "You are going to die. Why are you wasting your time haggling? Pick a fucking plan and go climb a tree you goddamned idiot. Go home and tell your wife that you're tired of watching the fucking Simple Life every night. Some nights you want to watch The Golden Girls. Sure, you'll fight, but in the end you'll work it out. And two hours of fighting can't be worse than a lifetime of the simple life, can it?"

Joey Comeau