Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Will the Real Jeff Bezos...

I believe in principles before personalities, but there's one exception to this rule.

That comes into play when I see a victim of bullying. That's when I'm likely to step up and say Wait minute, here! (I'm 6-4, 270 so it works--lots). This is one of those times: Wait a minute, here!

The person I'm stepping up to lend a hand to is Jeff Bezos, the last person on planet earth who needs any help, much less help from a single citizen like me. Jeff (Mr. Bezos, in my daily speech) is being put upon by the media for all kinds of imagined shortcomings and imagined bad acts and imagined bad heartedness, as well as a general dislike for mom, apple pie, and--well, you get it.

So let me take a few minutes and tell you about the Jeff Bezos that I know.

First off, Jeff always has what I need. In my size. Or my wife's size, or your size. When I needed a new garden hose he said Will that be in half-inch or five-eights, will it be non-coil, and what color would you like, we even have red.

When I needed a new Macbook Pro he gave me umpty-ump to choose from, some with bells, some with whistles, some with both bells and whistles. And then he gave me hundreds of reviews to read about them so I could make my own best informed choice.

I needed fig jam. A distant memory from my childhood. Not a problem, here's fig jam, you can get it overnight, if you're that hungry.

But here's the best of all. I was beaten down by a job I had done for forty years. I was a professional and I had carried other peoples' water and borne their griefs and hardships as a professional and, brother, I was burned out. So I looked for ways to financially bow out of the profession I chose when I was twenty-five and full of pep. Now I was sixty-five and frazzled. I tried computers. Nothing there. With the help of a Paki engineer I developed a website of my own, one able to do high-performance data massage as a tool for other lawyers to use in the cloud. It went nowhere and I spent $35,000 chasing that pie in the sky. There were others things, too. Alas, nothing worked. I was too tired to continue, too broke to quit. Even my doctor said I had to quit.

One thing.

I had been writing short stories and novels since I was a teenager. Early teens, maybe even before. And I had tried to publish them, with no success. At one time I had applied and been accepted to the Iowa Writers' Workshop, which is the most prestigious writing program probably in the world. Instead, I went to law school. The things we do when we're in our twenties. That's another story for another day. Point is, I wrote and kept writing. Even when I was at the end of my rope and ready to die.

Problem was, no one in New York wanted to read lawyer novels written by a nobody like me who hadn't gone to the right schools and who didn't come with a pedigree. I couldn't get an agent to even read my books, much less rep me to a publisher. I even tried sending directly to a publisher or two and never heard back. Not. One. Word.

Then I found Jeff. He had a program called Kindle Direct Publishing. Right there on Amazon. Well, Amazon already had my trust and so I thought, Why not?

I pushed PUBLISH and my first novel went up on Jeff's website in January of this year. Since then I've published four more books and sold all told in the twenty-thousand-somethings. All from a guy no one would take a chance on.

Best part?

Guess who doesn't have a law office anymore? And guess who doesn't have to practice law anymore? Guess who got to retire to writing books and making enough to live comfortably off his book royalties. You guessed it, me.

So when you see Jeff's name in the papers and some clown is trying to put him down for this or that, please remember my little story here.

Jeff. He has what I need.

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