Manifold Superlativity, or, We’re (all) #1!
A couple of evenings ago, as I mixed and mingled over delicious wine and hors d-oeuvres at a local restaurant, I encountered a fellow who was clearly there as much because wine tastings are excellent prospecting opportunities for investment advisors as he was for the utter bacchanalianity of it all. Seriously there was so much wine and free food there I just wanted to go into a corner and throw up and then pour hot wax on myself. But I digress. Grossly.
I was invited by the owner to sample some wines and eat some good creole-continental fare with some good friends and good friends-to-be. He had me at "free." But the fellow with whom I was now speaking was seizing upon an opportunity to recruit new customers. Evidently, wine-drinkers tend to have higher net worths than malt liquor drinkers. Because I'm complicated, I like 'em both.
Sidebar: How awesome would a malt liquor tasting be?
"Yes, this is a 1998 Red Dog."
"Mmm, fruity undertones and a nice crisp aftertaste. You say 1998? Excellent year, no?"
"No, actually, that's $19.98 for a case."
"Ahh yes. Mmm. I'm already getting that feeling. You know, I'm gonna go over here in the corner, braid my hair in cornrows, put on a wife-beater, and then throw some D's on dat bitch. HEY, ANYONE KNOW WHERE I CAN GET SOME D'S AND A BITCH 'ROUND HERE?"
Anyhow, the fella I met strikes up a conversation with me and immediately I begin to sense that I'm being sized up. This is what investment advisors do … its really easy to ballpark a person's net worth and interest in your services by adjusting the content of your conversation. Introduce yourself. Find a common interest. Segue into your job responsibilities. And then:
First sentence, mention the words "Tontine" "Toast Point" "Gated Community with low incidence of Blacks and Hispanics" and "3 Series." If the person cocks his head to the side like a confused, un-potty trained jack Russell (extra points if he then lifts his leg and pees on himself) move on to the next sentence.
Second sentence, mention the words "401 K" "No-load Mutual Funds" and "Asset Allocation."
No Luck? Third sentence, drop "Lottery Tickets" "Put your ass in the air for the first rich guy who shows interest" and "Does your house have wheels?"
And so on.
Anyway, the guy mentions he's with LPL, and it's the #1 independent investment firm of its kind. He then begins to tell me about his best performing funds. Because I felt like I could engage him (read: was drunk and felt like being a dick) I parried:
"Whats the Morningstar rating on your best low-load large cap value fund?"
"How many consecutive years has your best micro cap fund beat the Lipper average?"
"Do you consistently outperform the S&P 500?"
"How did you advise clients who wished to restructure their asset allocations in relation to the subprime mortgage bust? Play it in cash and wait until a true bottom reveals itself in the housing market? Pull out of the pure plays?"
And then to really be a neutical, I charged him up like an old black frat member:
"And I thought UBS was the #1 investment firm?"
Of course, his response was professional, accommodating, consummatory even:
"No they are the #1 firm in terms of assets."
"A.G. Edwards?" Most local branches.
"Merrill Lynch?" Most million dollar clients.
So basically, every investment firm is #1 at something.
And therein is the rhetorical theory that this blog is named after: Manifold Superlativity. In short, there are enough aspects of human life and all of god's creation that every human being and every organization/corporation/etc. can be #1 at something. Particularly useful bit of knowledge if you pay close attention to Western (American, particularly) marketing and advertising rhetoric, where we value superlatives highly and devote little time to conducting our own research to verify the validity of those claims.
The #1 detergent could be #1 in sales, or #1 in independent tests or smell the best.
The #1 car could be the fastest, most fuel efficient, or most likely to get you laid by a woman who is two or more points higher than you on the scale (You're a 4, she's an 8).
The #1 rhet/comp grad program could be #1 in job placement, #1 in research funding, or #1 in likelihood to uproot itself and relocate at a completely different university.
So I figure, what are ten things that yours truly is quite possibly #1 at in the entire world?
10. I am #1 in the world at competitive list making. In other words, I make better lists than you. Really literate lists. For example ...
9. I have uttered the phrase "white people make me sick" and the phrase "black people make me sick" in succession more times than anyone else in the world.
8. I am the number one person inthe world at being able to discern the difference between Jason Bateman and Jerry O Donnell. Marginally better than O Donnell, even.
7. I have retrieved a post-it note, written down one word, and then decided that I don't need a post-it note but I want to have a fresh post-it note when I write the next message down, thus discarding the original post-it note more times than anyone else in the world.
6. I have tried to explain why I like women's tennis so much to more people than any other person in the world. I think this is because I am afraid that people will assume its because I like watching foreign women in short skirts grunt as if mid-coitus, which, seriously, is like the fourth or fifth thing on a list of twelve things that I like about women's tennis in terms of order of importance.
5. I have uttered the phrase "F**k you, Pay me" more times than any other person in the world, save for Mos Def. I am set to surpass him in 2011. Because he will stop saying it and come up with something cooler and I'll be in the background saying it like people who currently say "No you didd-en" and "You go girl."4. I have walked the road from Del Taco on Broadway and Euclid to the Dean of Students Office more times than any other person in the world in fewer than 1,700 steps.
3. I have had this fantasy more times than any other person in the world
"A Person is choking at a restaurant. Someone yells "Are there a doctor in the house?" I stand up and proclaim "Yes, there is a doctor in the house." And then Hugh Laurie looks at me from across the room and begins a B-Movie clap.
2. I have spent more time daydreaming about what I would name my band, based on genre, if I were actually in one right now. Current projects, you ask?
Blues: The HeeBeeGeeBees "I Put a Mispell on You"
Rap: B. F. Hoodrich "Throw Some A's on that Bitch (The Report Card Anthem)" B-Side "Chicken Noodle Soup (Mmm Mmm Hood!)"
Alternative: The B-Movie Claps "Old Horatian Lies"
Gospel: Rev. Dr. Will and the Stormin' Tabernacle Choir "Lord, If You Listenin' … HELPP!!! The Doctor say I Need a Backiotomy"
And so on …
1. Parallel parking. I run that. And I drive a Honda Fit. Its kinda like when a busty woman wears victoria secret. Makes the goods look great.
Holla back and let me know what you're the best in the world at. At what you're best in the world. What in the world at which you are best.
In the immortal words of ODB,
"If you wanna see me baby come, you know Dirty Dog is number one"
Method Man f. ODB "Sucker MCs"
And remember ... we're all number one at something.