How to Gain Status and Intimidate People

by Jeffrey Shaffer and Suzy Blackaby

	Are you losing the race to keep up with the Joneses? Or worse, do you feel as if 
	it just isn't worth the effort anymore? Don't be discouraged. Confidence is the 
	key to success in any endeavor, but achieving just the right balance of competitive 
	desire and cool self- assurance can be tricky. So is projecting an image that will 
	awe your subordinates and mystify your rivals. It's especially difficult when your 
	personal budget demands that you exist on a diet of Little Juan burritos, ramen 
	noodles, and tap water.
 	We think we've solved the problem with a list of tips that will get your confidence 
	level back up to par, at minimum personal expense. Just remember that moxie can be 
	as important as money when it comes to looking good.

 	1. Carry a foreign-language newspaper in your briefcase. When sitting at a bar, 
		take out the paper and scan the pages with a serious expression. It's 
		important to pick a difficult language for the gambit, something other than 
		French, German or Spanish. Those could get you in trouble if some exchange 
		student calls your bluff.

 	2. Keep an old telephone in your car under the front seat. When driving, hold the 
		receiver up to your ear and act as if you were talking to someone on the 
		other end. if stopped at a busy intersection, roll down your window so 
		pedestrians can hear the conversation. Then, in a loud, demanding voice, say 
		things such as, "Tell Harris we need that building! Tell him to offer 
		50 million, straight cash, whatever it takes!"

	3. Use expensive containers to dispose of household trash. When you visit a store 
		such as Neiman-Marcus (we buy all of our pencils there) pick up a couple of 
		extra shopping bags. Several times a month you should fill one with garbage 
		and place it on the curb with your other household rubbish. Make sure the 
		name of the store is clearly visible from the street.

 	4. Wear T-shirts commemorating fantastic events of physical endurance. Most towns 
		now have these stores where you can print messages on shirts. Simply order 
		one up with the inscription, "Snow Madness Run, Butte-Great Falls December 
		1981." When people ask why they've never heard about such a grueling race, 
		say, "Oh, we only ran it once, 12 of us got together and just went for it. 
		Never could get any sane group to sanction it."

 	5. Mount extra clocks on your office walls. Label each one with the name of an 
		international capital (Lima, Bonn, Canberra) and check them periodically when 
		talking with a client.

 	6. Keep mysterious items in the glove compartment of your car. Instead of the usual 
		mess of tissues, loose change and old sunglasses, you should have at least 
		two of the following articles: a slide rule, a map of the London subway 
		system, an English-Swahili dictionary, a small jar of litmus paper or a 
		prism. When a passenger discovers the items, shrug and say something like, 
		"Oh, just some things for this project I'm thinking about..." and then close 
		the compartment smartly, to show the conversation is not going any further.

 	7. Print your own wine labels. This is fairly risky and is a ploy that should only 
		be used when you really want to play hardball. ...Grab a few bottles of your 
		favorite generic vintage from the local Econo-Mart, soak the labels off and 
		paste on your own. Getting them designed shouldn't be difficult. Chances are 
		that you know of a graphic artist who's struggling to the same degree as 
		yourself. For a small fee or a large lasagna, he or she can come up with a 
		private reserve label just for you, from folksy wine cellar to expensive 
		foreign vineyards, to suit any occasion.

Back to Lori's Humor Page