The thing a lot of people don’t get is that just because you’re down, it doesn’t mean you’re out.
Let me ask you this—what do you do when you know you’ve pissed down your own leg?
You rebrand—the pants, the piss, whatever works, whatever you have to do. When you start thinking in terms of opportunity costs and business theory, that’s when the world starts buttering your bread. Trust me. I used to be a lot like you—drinking and dreaming, working for the weekend, running on the wheel and getting fatter by the day. Occasionally, the universe would pity me and I’d get to trot around the bases, but otherwise I was striking out my every at bat and swallowing my sorrows with a cocktail of pills. At thirty-three I hit bottom, and almost went up on a martyr’s cross of my own making like Jesus before me, another sorry story of a good life drowned stiff because I couldn’t hustle with the flow. All that changed when I met Randy.
Randy Shuvelback, or Shuvelback, to those followers of his who aren’t on a first name basis with him, is a flinty, leathery timberwolf of a man from a frozen piss-popsicle of a town deep in the Minnesota sticks. A childhood spent in chilly shithouses and barns, taking care of the stock for his frequently drunk father and shy, permissive mother, impressed upon Randy (nee Rudolph Skovgaard) from a young age the value of self-reliance and-improvement. He knew that if he were to have any chance of making it in this world, he had to get out and get ahead, no matter the odds, no matter the cost. By the age of fourteen, Randy was already developing and implementing techniques that would become the basis of his flagship product, the seminal, bestselling self-improvement guide and CD-ROM course, “The Psychological Advantage.” Experimenting and honing his now patented system, a young Randy had, at sixteen, earned enough money to buy a beat up Trans-Am and leave home to enroll in a semester at Quest College (now Kaplan University) in Rockford, Illinois, where, through a combination of street-smarts, mail-fraud, COD businesses, elbow-grease, and good old fashioned American cheating, he earned his AD in a little over five years time. After graduation, he, his roommate and partner in cain raising, Tom Shneider, and their on-again, off-again, alternating current of a girlfriend, Tammy, lit out for Pensacola, Florida with an idea to strike it rich in swampland real estate. Nobody but the three of them knows exactly what happened next, but suffice it to say that things got murky and relations between Tom, Tammy, and Randy got messy. Randy changed his name to Shuvelback, supposedly in reference to a phrase his cousin Gustav used to throw around during the summers when he would drive over from Fort Totten to lend a hand at the Skovgaard homestead, and flew out to the greater Los Angeles area where he moved into an apartment in Sun Valley. There, he completed the first draft of “The Psychological Advantage” between motivational speaking gigs and part time work as a phone scammer. It was a result of his forays into the former that I first met this man who would change the way I looked at the world and my place in it.
Overweight, depressed, and addicted to painkillers, I was awed by Shuvelback’s combination of lean muscularity, manly vigor, no bullshit personality and philosophical outlook, and will never forget the way he commanded the stage when I flew out to Costa Mesa to attend one of his lectures. When I later purchased “The Psychological Advantage” from Shuvelback’s website (among other things, he was an early advocate of the internet as a form of direct connection and sales) I recognized the same wisdomatic, aphoristic style at work in his writing as he had so aptly showcased in person. Koans of Randy’s coining like: “Shit or get off the pot” and “it takes one to know one” became personal mantras of mine and networking events through “The Psychological Advantage” community led me to my fruitful partnership with my current money manager Stanley Sizemore, and his associates at Sizemore & Associates, to whom I give enormous credit in helping me to turn my company around, even after I was able to turn my life around through the help of Randy’s advantage method.
To say that I owed Randy a debt of gratitude is an understatement. To say that I owed Randy my life would be getting there, but since Batcorp is Gotham’s third largest employer, I’d be doing Shuvelback a disservice to stop the buck at me. Before I met Randy, I didn’t know the meaning of masculinity or business practices. But while I don’t think I flatter myself to say that I’m a bona fide business man now, part of being that sort of a man means knowing when you’re whipped and knowing who to bring on to help you out.
I won’t mince words and I won’t brick up the shit before we hose it off the lawn—the thing with the Dryad, it put the zap on me. Basically, it raised a lot of old questions and forced me to rehash some personal issues I thought I’d buried in the past, not to mention the fact that ever since my liason with her, I’ve noticed some odd bumps on my inside thigh and buttcheeks area that have me slightly spooked. Alfred thinks they’re just ingrown hairs that I never noticed before, but I’m my own biggest critic and I don’t think I would’ve missed them in the bat-room mirror. I’ve been googling about it on WebMD and uncovered some disturbing results. The whole thing has rocked my confidence so much that I even turned back to an old flame for comfort and things have started to get complicated again with the old relation-shit train revving up again. To top it all off, Batcorp’s stocks are threatening to plateau at 2% this quarter, which to put it in English is “nicht so gut.”
Like I said though, a business man doesn’t panic and above all he knows who and when to ask for help.
Enter R. Shuvelback, life-coach.
Seth Blake is a writer from New Hampshire.