When I joined the army in 1979 I didn’t have a clue of just how broke my wife and I were about to become. We had been married for five years so we took five years worth of debt into the service with us. On the way back to our regular duty station my wife became pregnant. I know that because from the morning she conceived to the morning she delivered, she was sick. I guess that why they call it morning sickness.
Anyway, when we made up our budget we found we would only be about $150 per month in the hole to buy groceries with. She couldn’t work so I needed a part time job. At the $2.25 per hour they were paying in Savannah Georgia at the time, I would only need to work an extra 40 hours per week over the 50 hours I was putting in with the military.
One day in September of 1979 my PAC Sergeant, Wayne Stergen, showed me the part time thing he was doing. He called it Asset Management. He asked me if I wanted to save some money on my life insurance. Well that had me, if anyone could save me money on anything back then, I wanted it.
So he brought over his District Manager to our house that night. I didn’t understand anything they presented but at the end of their presentation they asked if I had any questions? I said; yes, how do I sign up to sell this too? Jack Daniels, yes that was his real name, told me I couldn’t.
Well, that was not what I expected to hear. So I thought of a brilliant retort that I figured would impress him enough to change his mind. “Why?” He told me I was too young and he wasn’t going to train anyone my age. Then he started to grab his briefcase off the floor to leave. I didn’t know what to do, so I put my foot on his case and told him he couldn’t leave until he gave me a chance.
Well, that pissed him off. He angrily said ok, but I had to do exactly as I was told. He handed me several sheets of paper with places for 30 people’s names, addresses and phone numbers. He said, fill these out with local people I know by the time he called me back and he would give me a chance.
At 7 oclock the next morning the phone rang. It was Jack; “You got those names filled out yet?” I said yes I do. I lied. He said great, we’ll be over in an hour to collect them and sell you a life insurance policy. I spent the next hour writing down every name I could think of. All military of course.
When he got there I handed him the sheets. He looked at them and said where are the addresses and phone numbers?” “I work in PAC and I can get them on Monday.” He bought it. He said ok, let’s go ahead and fill out the paperwork. Great! he then told me I had to buy a one hundred thousand dollar policy that would cost us $77.16 per month!
We got our mid-month pay of $114 the day before and were looking forward to buying groceries with it. My wife and I looked at each other, I nodded my head, and she wrote the check. Then he said he needed another $30 for a Georgia temporary life license. “Write him the check honey.”
That SOB walked out of our house with $107 of our $114 grocery money. I guess we were what you’d call, all in. When you want something bad enough.
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