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My Mother's Daughter

My Mother's Daughter

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Published by Adora Svitak

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Published by: Adora Svitak on Jul 14, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial No-derivs

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11/02/2012

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³So as I was telling you not a moment ago, Miss Dewinkle, not a
moment 
ago²´ said the surly old fellow, shifting with great importance in his armchair tofind a more comfortable position while clasping fat fingers together ³²the business began as a result of my inspiration, my entirely organic inspiration²´³Some have alleged that it was not so organic,´ I said questioningly, lookingup from my notes.³Some²pfawfuddle them, they¶re a buncha soggy liars,´ he said viciously,going from a boardroom drawl, no doubt perfected from years on golf courses, tohis more infamous²and far more authentic, I thought²voice, a blend of astereotypical Chicago gangster¶s voice and that of a backwoods lumberjack.Appropriate, I supposed, considering what he had told me for Part 1 of the book² his mother was from Minnesota and his father from Illinois. But that was reallycommon knowledge. It was on Wikipedia, after all.³I²uh²should I make a note of how you react to those accusations?´³Not necessary, no,´ he said, relaxing into his default drawl. ³I thought thiswas to be a special on my µlife and times,¶ not some sort of...sensational cover  piece.´³We hold ourselves up to the highest standard of journalism,´ I said coolly. Icould feel hairs bristling on my neck of their own accord. ³I trust that you know wedo not run µsensational cover pieces.¶´ I looked down to the recorder, still blinkingred, and realized that perhaps I should have turned it off²just in case my bosswanted to hear tapes and criticized me for getting indignant. I didn¶t think it carriedthrough in my voice, and Mr. Jeck didn¶t appear to be offended by mydefensiveness²he actually settled down into the armchair with a flabby smile, asthough relishing my words.³Well then, shall we go back to the inspiration for your business model?´ Iasked, twiddling my pen. I¶d already collected about a page of shorthand about hisearly life, but there were still no gems²nothing mildly controversial or previouslyunknown²in other words, nothing that would justify the price we¶d paid for a sit-down interview and exclusive rights.
 
³Indeed,´ he said tonelessly. ³It all began a little over a decade ago, when Idecided that many basic services and products we provide using great manpower² retailing of clothes, for instance, or the sale of hotel rooms²can be done easilyusing a technique we already knew had been used to great success with food²thevending machine. Why not vend clothes out just as you would vend a Snickers bar? Why not create an all-inclusive vending machine, that would sell hotel roomsas cardkeys, rental cars, clothing, et cetera²all without the need to employ people.We placed test versions of these vending machines at train stations, at airports,malls, schools²anywhere people congregate. And they took off.´³Do you regret that you are credited, by some estimates, for putting upwardsof 20,000 people in the service industry out of work
 I 
ncluding a woman just trying to get a daughter through college, who happened to be my mother?
³I don¶t look at this invention as a put-people-out-of-work sort of thing. Ilook at it as an efficiency thing. I look at it as progress. Sure, you can say penicillin put a lot of bacteria out of work²´³Are you equating the VendAll system with penicillin?´
 Are you equating my mom with bacteria, you *******?
I didn¶t even think of a swearword, I was soshocked. I just thought of asterisks...and scribbled furiously. Boy was I going toquote him on this one.³I wouldn¶t say
quite
that much,´ he said smugly, ³but you do realize that before we came along, purchasing used to be a dreadful ordeal of waiting in line,having to grab things off shelves, waiting for slow cashiers to hand you your receipt²surely you wouldn¶t want to go back to
those
days, now would you, MissDewinkle?´
 Days when people actually had the muscle to grab things off shelves?
 I¶ 
mtempted,
I thought, but I maintained at least a modicum of professional objectivity.³I can see that you¶re not regretful,´ I said, my face still, ³but your then-colleague and cofounder, Jacqueline Wasserman, doesn¶t seem to feel the sameway.´³Aw, Jackie was always a heart-on-her-sleeve type,´ he growled. ³Youknow women...´ he paused, seemingly having just realized I was one. ³And²you
 
know²´ with a great heaving effort, he leaned in toward me, to whisper confidentially, ³I think she did the whole µI hate VendAll¶ thing to gain publicity.She wrote a book.´This was still going nowhere. He¶d said much the same to a thousand other news organizations. And our hour was running out (much as I loved the thought of the end of our interview, I dreaded the idea of facing my boss with nothing new,interesting, or exciting²nothing that would even slightly necessitate a cover story). Maybe I could pursue the Jackie Wasserman part.³Indeed,´ I said dryly, and pulled it out of my purse, showing it to him.³
ended:
 I 
nsights and Regrets from a Life in Business
. She was quite harsh onVendAll as a company, overall, wasn¶t she? She resigned her board position a day before the book came out. Do you feel in any way betrayed by her actions?´³What, by her actions? No, no...she has some kids, probably wanted an easyway out of business to get back in the kitchen and still keep another kinda dough.´He chuckled like he had just made an insanely funny joke.³Easy way out of business to get back in the
kitchen
?´ I repeated, as thoughnot sure I¶d heard him correctly. I would probably rewind the tapes just to makesure.³Yeah, what did you think I said?´³Just confirming,´ I said, and scribbled furiously. Combined with thecomparing VendAll to penicillin, this outrageous statement might just ruffle somefeathers. Whether it would make a substantial article was another question entirely.³What makes you think she wants to get back in the kitchen?´³Oh, you know,´ he said, waving his hand. ³She¶s got to like to cook²she¶son the plump side.´ He laughed. ³No offense to her or anything, but the girl is notexactly Miss Beach Body, is she?´
UTTER D
 IS 
 REGARD FOR PROFE 
SSI 
ONAL
OBR
 I 
 ETY. CHAU 
 I 
 N 
 IS 
 I 
TREATMENT OF LONGT 
 I 
 ME COLLEAGUE.
(Or, if I were writing for the Onion:
 L
 I 
GHTLY PLUMP WOMAN CALLED ³FAT´ BY WAY FATTER MAN.
)
 
I could

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