Saturday, July 14, 2007

How to tell the difference between Richard Branson and myself


Not infrequently, I'm approached for autographs in hotel lobbies, airport bars, corporate washrooms, and any number of other public places. And I'm always happy to comply.

But not infrequently, I catch a look of disappointment when returning the signed item, as the fan suddenly realizes they've mistaken me for a certain someone else.

"I bet you were expecting Richard Branson?" I'd lead.

"Yes," they'd admit, weakly.

"He's also extremely photogenic," I'd begin, "with a goatee, a wicked, knowing smile, a virile head of strawberry blond hair, and that certain sense about him that you only see in tycoons. Tycoon magnetism"

Invariably the fan apologizes and attempt to retreat quickly, "Yes, yes, all that. Look, I'm very sorry to have taken your time, I need to get to my gate....." But these moments are an opportunity to 'provide a general lesson' and make a new fan of the Blader brand.

"Well, you thought I was Richard Branson but only now realize I don't really look a thing like him, right."

"Yes, now that you mention it, how could I be so stupid?"

I'd go on, "Look, I won't take much of your time other than to say that you were very close. Your instincts are spot on. Because we are both tycoons, Richard Branson and I are alike in many ways. The only reason he isn't mistaken for me when he is in airports is because he owns his own airline and is closely associated with that brand, and quite frankly, wouldn't be caught dead in this rinky-dink airport lounge. "

Invariably, the fan looks rather pensive and anxious by this point, saying "Yes, that makes sense. Look, I really need to catch my...."

"So," I'd interrupt, "you want to know the most simple way to tell the difference between myself and Richard Branson?"

"ah, sure, why not?"

"If I was Richard Branson, I'd be lifting that cocktail waitress over there, hold her over the threshold, and sorta wait for people to come by and take pictures of us. Richard Branson just loves lifting beautiful women, especially models and real estate agents, whereas I can't possibly do something lik that because of L1-L2 fusion surgery I had after an old quarry diving accident. That's probably the biggest difference between us."

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