Monday, February 22, 2010

Significant Moments: Disclosing Your Strategy Upfront

No composer, and few human beings, have had Wagner's sense of mission.
Harold C. Schonberg, The Lives of the Great Composers.
He made no effort to disguise his strategy:
Elmer Bendiner, A Time for Angels: The Tragicomic History of the League of Nations.
“We show them our hands,” he explains. “We say, ‘Listen, just so you know, we’re here to manipulate you and show you beautiful things. Apparently, you want to do this. Now do you want to be massaged?’”
John Lahr, The Ringmaster: The Garish and Giddy World of Baz Luhrmann.
After removing his hat, scarf, and mantle he came forward to the front of the stage . . .
Thomas Mann, Mario and the Magician.
. . . and—bang!—
John Lahr, The Ringmaster: The Garish and Giddy World of Baz Luhrmann.
. . . in something of a high-wire act, . . .
David Mermelstein, Wagner’s “Parsifal”—The Sorrow & the pity.
. . . showed himself a practiced speaker, never at a loss for conversational turns of phrase.
Thomas Mann, Mario and the Magician.


People have been coming up to me on the street, asking me, imploring me -- demanding to know -- who is the real Gary Freedman? You see, I have many sides. I show different sides of myself to different people, in different situations.

People have been asking me: "Mr. Freedman, is there one constant in your behavior? Some quality that shows itself time and time again? Some aspect of yourself that you consider to be the most significant in your relations with other people?"

Well, I would hazard a guess. I am -- isn't it apparent after all this time? -- I am an opportunist. I take advantage of situations and circumstances. I use the facts that present themselves to me at any given time and try to put those facts in the service of my interests.

I don't see myself as a manipulator. I'm not very good at manipulating people, in fact. I think that if I were adept at manipulation I would have gotten further in life than I have.

I remember a conversation I had with a former psychiatrist, Albert H. Taub, M.D. I told Dr. Taub: "I am like a person who has a deck of cards. I throw the cards into the air, and however the cards fall, I take advantage of their configuration. I don't manipulate the cards. I wait for the cards to fall to the ground, I size up the situation, then I set upon a course of action to exploit the chance placement of the deck of cards." Well, you may disagree, but, in fact, Dr. Taub agreed with me. He concurred that I am an opportunist. I would add: a damn good one at that!

I was terminated from my job as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld years ago. Dennis Race, Esq. -- the lawyer who fired me -- as it turns out, had secretly certified me insane. I thought: now how can I take advantage of that characterization, "paranoid and potentially violent." Well, it took me some time, but I realized I could apply for Social Security Disability benefits and retire at the age of 37 based on the invidious characterization of me as "paranoid and potentially violent." Am I in fact paranoid and potentially violent? I don't think so, but that description, as we say in the trade, is good for business!

I've had the idea for decades now that I have been under surveillance by my former employer. I've always thought, "now, if I could prove that, I could sue Akin Gump and make a fortune." But I don't have the financial resources to hire a private investigator. So I tried to get federal law enforcement involved in my "investigation." But nothing has panned out so far.

Years ago I was involved in a lawsuit against Akin Gump. The case was a third-rate, state court, pro se matter. But then I found out that one of the judges who heard my case had become a federal judge. I thought, "I can take advantage of that. Whenever I refer to my lawsuit, I'll refer to the name of a federal judge and that sleight of hand will make people think that my third-rate, state court, pro se matter was indeed more momentous than it really was." That plan backfired as we now know. But my motive in referring again and again to a federal court judge was an act of opportunism. I mean, now really, has anyone ever heard of Judge Inez Reid?

Yes, I am an opportunist. I take advantage. That's all. I'm not the Unabomber. I am just a pathetic little man trying to shoehorn his way into a more financially-rewarding status in life.

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