A colleague, whom I’ll call Ralph, once told me of a miraculous product developed by a customer of his. When placed in a refrigerator, this device would through energy savings, pay for itself many times over. The customer, whom I’ll refer to as Bill, had sole access to the secret mixture of minerals that provided the remarkable effects. Essentially a bag of desiccant, the device dried the air significantly reducing the cycle time of the compressor. (Raised in the humidity capital of America, I was well acquainted with the energy required to change the temperature of moist air.) Ralph told of many testimonials of people impressed by the results in commercial coolers, soda vending machines, and consumer refrigerators.
Proven savings in energy and maintenance costs allowed Bill to raise capital from investors such as food distributors, vending machine companies, and restaurateurs. The product was produced in two lines, commercial and consumer. Having no reason to doubt the claims, I accepted this as entrepreneurship at its best. That is until I met Bill. Upon meeting Bill, I just sensed a bad energy. Warning Ralph, I told him that Bill reminded me of my ex-customer, also named Bill. Ralph assured me this was nonsense because Bill was a nice guy that he fished with. Ralph had even had dinner with Bill’s family.
My Bill had a successful product line and worldwide distribution throughout the petrochemical industry. Instead of easy street, through bad luck he was always facing disaster. All who knew him warned me of his self-destructive nature. He would use me as he did everyone. As Ralph did, I thought this was nonsense. After all, this was a symbiotic relationship; our businesses benefited one another.
In time, Ralph presented me with my own wonder device. Looking forward to crisp produce that lasted forever and rock hard ice cream, I placed it in the fridge. Nothing happened! Had my feelings about Bill cursed me? A quarter million satisfied customers couldn’t be wrong! Ralph thought it hilarious that I thought it only worked if you believed it did.
To increase sales, Bill solicited $50,000 each, from a number of responsible investors (Ralph being one). Bill then absconded with the money (I don’t know if Bill or just the money disappeared). I also don’t know if the product still works for these believers. As for me, this useless device is probably still somewhere in the back of my refrigerator.
As a lawyer sells hope to the hopeless, people such as these (Bill and Bill) should be respected for their understanding of the power of faith. Just as in the story of the frozen rattlesnake saved from the snow and biting their rescuer, you knew they were snakes when you picked them up.
Striking in its similarity to this story is what occurred to me my first winter in Montana. Coming from the Deep South, I had a keen interest in what a real winter was like, so I purchased a thermometer for my truck. It was a digital affair that displayed temperature and humidity. As the weather cooled, I noticed every morning and every evening, the temperature was always 32°F in my truck. We seem to always have bottled water in our vehicles and my concern was that it would freeze and become unavailable. When it got colder, I was amazed that my truck retained enough heat to remain at 32°F. My concern seemed unfounded since my well-insulated vehicle kept my water in a liquid state. Sweet Mom thought this odd since her water had been frozen for weeks. Now downright cold, I began to have my doubts. Checking the display in Wal-Mart, I found that my model only went down to 32°F. Now my thermometer resides in my bathroom and my water freezes normally.
A mind is a terrible thing!