Lessons in Integrity --DeWese
It really chaps my cheeks when a great writer like me gets "tainted" by the unscrupulous acts of hacks like this Jayson Blair guy at The New York Times. It zaps the creativity right out of my bones. You all read or heard about Mr. Jayson "Phony Phacts" Blair in the newspapers or on CNN, Fox and MSNBC. The notoriety of his sins has slopped out of his pigpen and swamped my sty with some vile accusations.
Just listen to this memo that I got from Attila the Editor and his nasty little henchmen.
Dear Mañana Man (or whoever you think you are today):
The recent New York Times plagiarism scandal involving reporter Jayson Blair alerted us to possible plagiarism, lies, misrepresentations and other made-up stuff in your 206 monthly columns dating from November 1984 through June 2003. Accordingly, we have researched all 258,530 words you have written for this magazine. We commissioned, at great expense, the Warren G. Harding High School Spring Semester English 101 students to perform this ambitious audit. The project required these bright students to conduct thousands of hours of interviews, literary comparisons and the research of quotation attribution.
Well, Mister Mañana Mucho Misguided Manuscript, we have caught you red-handed with your pen dipped in the good works of others. Furthermore, we examined your expense reports and found profuse falsification.
An example: In October of 1997 you claimed to be in Chicago covering GRAPH EXPO. A careful examination of the dates on your travel receipts and hotel bills show you were actually holed up in Tijuana recuperating from cosmetic surgery.
Bunch of Bad Info
We don't want to belabor this, but the students have found a total of 109 lies, 63 falsehoods, 21 little white lies, 273 misrepresentations, 276 incorrect declarations, 16 malicious slanders, 517 made-up facts and 187 quotes actually authored by others. You have been consciously and wittingly misinforming the good print salespeople in America for nearly 20 years. No wonder so many of them are giving up and going into other professions.
In short, this is your only, and final, warning to clean up your act and simply write the facts.
Yours truly, The Editorial Staff
I'm not going to take this vicious attack lying down. I have been to the mountaintop, and I'll fire when I see the whites of their eyes.
To you skuzzy editor types, I say I am a flattering painter, who made it his care to draw men as they ought to be, not as they are. And to that I hasten to add a day, an hour, of virtuous liberty is worth a whole eternity in bondage, and what's more a dwarf sees farther than the giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on. I think I originally said that thing about the dwarf and giant in a column in 1994.
Do you see how this great stuff just rolls out of my brain? How can you steal words if you don't read words? Everybody knows that I don't read. Why would I want the words of others to muddy up my mind? And you accuse me of plagiarism? Hah!
I suppose you think I just made up the Mañana Man's Second Great American Print Sales Prospecting Contest and that it never actually happened. I guess you think I just fabricated the winners, and that PCA Inc. of Baltimore; Victor Graphics, also of Baltimore; Worth Higgins & Associates of Richmond, VA; Ambrose Printing, Nashville, TN; and Saint Clair Press of Indianapolis, don't exist.
They do exist and they won by working hard. Next month I will prove their existence when I profile each of the winners and print photographs of the winning salespeople.
All of these winning salespeople live by two of my more famous quotes: the absence of occupation is not rest and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Wait, here comes another one just popping into my head. Listen to this gem. A little neglect may breed mischief; for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.
All of my great quotes over nearly 20 years came straight out of my head. After all, a mind quite vacant is a mind distressed and a clear conscience is a sure card.
I'm sorry I had to use this column to refute the defamatory assertions of my editors. These columns are supposed to be about something and now that I think about it, this one is about integrity in selling.
Many years ago several hundred print buyers were surveyed about the qualities they seek in print salespeople. Their highest priority was honesty.
When I think about the great print salespeople I know, they all begin and end with integrity. They may not have been that slick or articulate, but they reeked of honesty. If they tell you something is going to happen, then you can take it to the bank.
I'll just reinforce that point with a few more quotes I made up on the spot. Honesty is the best policy. No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage-ground of truth. The lie was dead and damned, and truth stood up instead. Tis strange, but true; for truth is always strange, stranger than fiction.
I'll bet writers will be referencing my quotes years from now. I'll probably be a whole chapter in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.
And to you hotshot editors, find something better to do than attack my prose. I've got my readers and all you have are sharp pencils. My parting shot: a fly bit the bare pate of a bald man who, in endeavoring to crush it, gave himself a hard slap. Then said the fly jeeringly, "You wanted to revenge the sting of a tiny insect with death? What will you do to yourself, who has added insult to injury?"
I'll handle the insults and my injuries by my editors while you guys get out there and sell something!
Editor's note: Our apologies to William Cullen Bryant, Lord Byron, Robert Browning and numerous other notable authors from the past.
About the Author
Harris DeWese is the author of Now Get Out There and Sell Something!, published by Nonpareil Books. He is a principal at Compass Capital Partners and is an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of information regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese specializes in investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, sales, marketing, planning and management services to printing companies. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.