To sell or to be sold

To sell or to be sold.  Every time I think of salesmen I think of them as desperate, sad, tragic.  To put your life on the line that way–to sell your life that way!  The thought that comes to me is not What an easy way out and to the top, just give it a little time and effort, but rather How I pray that I never have to become a salesmen–and sell myself!  But the fact is I have and it is something about the age: sales and salesmen and saleswomen and saleshumans mark our time and still, even if sales as a profession has noticeably dwindled.  In a world where everything is always already a commodity and can be, will be, already has been commodified, sales is THE modus of our being.  It is inescapable, selling yourself, like a pandemic of prostitution; the oldest profession turns out to be the newest and commonest profession as well, even if more subtle and insidious.  You are a salesman, a boss of mine once told me, one of our best, and I protested: I am not here to sell or to be sold.  After years of contemplating his casual compliment of me I realize that he was right: all my life, since I was the smallest child, I have sold myself, sold others, and been sold and traded like something on the marketplace.  My price might not be fixed and agreed upon by all parties involved, but it is still there and like my badge which proves I exist.  The only way to escape this inescapable atmosphere of valuation and exchange, the only alternative we have to loving what we are, something with a dollar sign or some other sign of currency before our names, before our hopes, before our high-flying ideals, is to become priceless.  But what is priceless anymore, and for how long?  How long do we have until even the most unique and inestimable thing is made costly, even invaluable, cheapened and coarsened in this way?  How long do we have until the bell rings again, the men and women on the floor begin their bartering and pleading for the proper price again, until the marketplace roars again, that omnipresent monster, with its jingles, its clicks of opening and closing cash-registers, and its no less frantic, even if smooth, slick and intangible, flows of digital data, until we are numbered, all of us, priced, no matter what we are, and placed back on the shelves?


  1. Stacey C. Johnson says:

    Richard, what a great phrase for a chilling reality: “pandemic of prostitution.” This will really stick in my head. Wishing you joy today : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard Q says:

      When the phrase came it came in a storm. But it had me pause before sending it out into the world. Thank you, Stacey. Joy abounds. I hope your day is full of sweetness, too.

      Liked by 1 person

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