"You have to want to do it. It won't just come to you."
I sat in my seat, trying not to be noticed. The seats were plastic, linked together in rows of about forty. How had I ended up right in the middle of the room?
"If you don't have the drive to get what you want in life, how do you think it will happen?"
He was about fifty, lights shining off his bald head, stalking back and forth over the stage. His energy was obviously meant to be catching, but… seriously?
"I started out like you! I started out simply dreaming about the things I want, never imagining that they'd be mine! And now look-"
A screen came to life behind him, images projected onto it. The speaker in a fast car. On a boat. Surrounded by women. On a… was that a gold jet-ski?
"All the things I wanted in life. And they're mine."
So, Mr Motivational Speaker, how did you get them? While you dramatically pause to let the significance of this sink in, let's review. I'm forty. My wife left me for a younger, richer man; I'm an alcoholic and my job's counselling service sent me here. But this is just embarrassing.
"And, you're thinking, how did I get all of this?" Yup. "Well, for the low, low price of $39.99 a month, I'll send you my magazine, 'The Drive To Succeed' in which you'll find all of the tips you need to end up just like me!"
Ah. There it was; the hook baited, the stick holding the carrot dipping into view. He splutters out one or two more exhortations and leaves the stage to rapturous applause. People begin to leave. I don't make eye contact with any of them.
I get to the door, nearly the last one to leave. No rush. Nothing to do when I get back, after all.
"Sir! Will you be signing up?" It's the speaker. He's standing holding a pad of forms and a pen. I look at them.
"It's a cheap price, buddy; tomorrow, it's double that."
What the hell. I sign.