My friend Ken once made over a quarter of a million dollars in one day. This was back in the late eighties when that kind of money was serious. He paid off his house, put back money for his kids’ college fund, bought a new truck, and drank himself silly for three days. Ken worked for a company that sold farm equipment and one of his clients had moved from South Africa to South Georgia, and needed some hardware for the farm. He and Ken went fishing together, went out drinking, and Ken more or less gave the man and his people the grand tour of all things wonderful in South Georgia for the better part of a week. At the end of the day, the man bought enough tractors and implements of destruction to keep a couple of thousand acres in produce for a very long time. Ken and this guy actually got together two or three times a year to go fishing until Ken and the guy’s eighteen year old daughter were caught smooching in a closet one night.
I’ve always wondered why people like Ken existed. Charmers, I call them, the type of people who seem to be born to sell, or con, or just simply smile and be loved by everyone. You know the type, and maybe you’re one of them. Have you ever wondered if that thing inside of you shuts off, how the hell you would survive? When you’re getting someone to do something for you do you ever wonder if they would still like you if you weren’t a Charmer?
It is a lot like being pretty. People spend an incredible amount of money each year on consumer good designed to make the buyer more attractive, but what about those people who just naturally fit the societal construct of being pretty? They are treated better, they are considered to be good people, and I’m willing to bet if Ken was a four hundred pound man with a wart on his nose and bad teeth, that guy from South Africa would have found someone else to sell him a John Deere. It’s a reward for simply being lucky enough to have what people like. There isn’t an intrinsic value to having large breasts, or blue eyes, or high cheek bones, or being skinny. We’ve invented a system where those phenotypes are valued, but they do not in and of themselves have any more value than traits which might be considered opposite. See where I’m going with this?
I have always had an incredibly difficult time communicating with human beings in person. Most of this stems from the fact I cannot edit my words once they are spoken. The nuance of human ritual escapes me until well after the fact. I am the Anti-Charmer.
Physics. Charm: a quantum number assigned the value +1 for one kind of quark, −1 for its antiquark, and 0 for all other quarks.
Here’s my theory, and it’s a theory based purely on the idea of tequila having magical properties allowing anyone who has drank enough to become pseudoscient. Human Beings, like the particles of matter that make up their composition, have a certain harmonic signal. Compare it to the song people make when they sing a certain song in a certain key. When two people get together and they really like one another, it’s because this harmonious signal is amplified between the two, and they both feel happier for it. It’s the same feeling groups of people feel at rock concerts, or weddings, or any other event where the humans beings there feel a simpatico with one another. The darkside to this is the same feeling can be felt when people are burning books or witches. Did you ever stop to wonder how people who are rioting know which other people are rioting and who isn’t? But that’s another story for another day.
Charmers are those people who have a natural and innate ability to adjust their harmonic signal to whoever might be near them. Every wonder how some singers seem to have a better stage presence than others? Ever wonder how a man like Richard Nixon ever became president? Charmers seem to be able to fit themselves into the heart of a crowd or the soul of another with ease. I would suggest to you actors are people with this ability simply because they can become who you want them to become. You feel sorrow or love or anger when you see their performance, and this goes well beyond simple stagecraft. Even through film and video, Charmers hold us rapt even though they might be long dead, and gone.
We Anti-Charmers are simply screwed. Our harmonic signal is one of extreme dissonance. We can sit alone in a room, quietly reading in the corner, yet somehow piss off someone, for some unknown reason. We’re the ones accused of witchcraft, or worse, and carted off to the bonfire, or banished forever from those we’re supposed to be a part of in some way. We are the eddies that ripple the flow, we are the whistling wind in the quite of the mind, we are the dandelions in the field of play, and we are the stones on the clear path.
Our Song Within is sang to a tune none other may hear. When we bond with others we have no question of why for it is a bond more pure than any other. Some are capable of feeling past the discord. Some are capable, and willing, to go beyond the harmonious signal, and hear a voice deep and true. We are not pretty, perhaps, and we are not soothing, in good sooth, and we are not easy to love, ever. But we are, stripped to the bone, and all alone, more truly ourselves than those who are given what we cannot have, those who do not have to work for we labor for, and those who slip easily into the company of human beings.
In the end, it may be this comfort and none other, which makes all the difference.
The Mike Firesmith Theory on Charmers, Anti-Charmers, and the Song Within.