One Drink with the Whirlwind "Genius"
So a while ago I was sitting in my apartment at like
9PM on a Wednesday minding my own business when I got a call from a close friend
of mine (runs his own business) who lives in Connecticut asking me what I was
doing. I asked him what was up. He told me he just met someone that I need
to meet. I was like, 'Okkkaay....?' He was like, 'Can you meet up tonight?'
I was like, 'Tonight? What? Who! And what!?' He was like, 'The guy is right here
and I'm telling you need to meet with him if you can.' And he's willing
to meet tonight. I asked him why I needed to meet with this guy.
My friend said, 'Trust me....'
And I do.
So I did.
He puts this guy on the phone (not gonna name him by name) who says, 'Hi Todd! (whatever whatever) Where should we meet up?' Totally weirded out I picked a bar down the street from my apartment and he said he could be there in an hour and half. The guy was going to drive from Connecticut to Brooklyn right then and there. To talk to me. About what...? I had no friggin idea. He has GPS and will be there at 10:45.
I head down the street and order a beer sort of nervous about the idea of getting murdered up or like taken into white slavery or something. 10:45 on the dot this guy walks in. The guy sort of looked like a male model with the hair and the face and stuff-- and I immediately thought this was a practical joke. Like my friend was getting his revenge for some prank I did to him a long time ago. Like the guy was gonna put down a boombox and strip to In The Navy for me or whatever. (Which would be a friggin funny joke). But my friend isn't motivated enough to arrange that. Plus, I didn't do anything to him to deserve high-concept revenge!
He sits down and we say hellos. I ask him if he wanted a beer or something and he tells me he doesn't drink and orders a water. The guy seems very smart and brain fueled with genius energy. Sort of jittery and low-level fascinated/distracted with everything etc. We have some small talk and I'm thinking, 'WTF does this guy want!??!!!'
He takes out a box and pushes it across the table to me. He tells to open it. I do. Inside is a cigarette. Metal or plastic looking cigarette. He picks it up and inhales on it. The tip glows orange. And he blows out a stream of smoke. He points at the smoke and says, 'Water vapor.' He points to the side of the cigarette and says, 'Battery.' Points to the tip and says, 'It delivers a nicotine load but all you breathe out is water vapor. You can smoke these inside. He asks me to try it. I do. Was coolio. Cool steam/smoke. I ask him the story with it and he tells me he invented it. And that they're gonna be everywhere in six months. Starting with casinos. I'm like, 'You... invented that?' He told me he owned the patent.
At this point I thought he was going to look for
investment but I sort of dismissed it right away-- because:
A. My friend I trust wouldn't do that to me. and...
B. He can ask all he wants. He'd be shaking the wrong leafless tree.
Then he went on to tell me he just did the cigarette thing for a money stream to fund his other projects.
Next, he takes out a silver coin that isn't US currency. He's like, 'Check this out. New currency.' I was like, 'New... currency?' He told me that price of the dollar is dropping like a stone and people are going to be turning to alternative currency. Currency they can trust that isn't manipulated by the global marketplace. A piece is silver is guaranteed value. And he goes into some lengthy explanation about how the future of currency is in precious metals because their value can be trusted unlike the dollar which is gonna tank. Etc. Went on to tell me about the history of silver over the past 100 years being stable. It made sense to me. He told me him and his partners were about to flood the market place with coins and do some sort of huge marketing campaign in mid-sized cities. Said if they can get acceptance into the mainstream and control distribution it would be a game changer in the world eventually. He cocks his head like, 'Get it?' I nodded. Made sense. I guess...
Then he tells me why he wants to meet up with me.
I'm like, 'Uh oh...'
He told me that he's involved with a new process that can turn garbage into energy. He said all landfills decompose a form of sludge at the ground level. And over the years this sludge accumulates and condenses or whatever. He's like, 'That sludge is like oil...' It's 100% eco friendly. Said if you go under any landfill it's seriously like striking oil... with this new process. Limitless energy. And him and his partners are running at this thing full steam ahead. The processing process is something they own outright. He cocks his head like, 'Get it?' I nodded. Made sense.
He tells me my friend showed him some of my ABC News cartoons and he wants me to do an animation to explain this process for investors and a second cartoon for the media and PR. I was like, 'Okay...?.' He also told me that he never 'pays' for anything with cash. He barters for everything he has. So I was like, 'Well...ok. What do you got?' He was like, 'I can give you a month in a condo in Oahu. On the beach. He also had a place in 'The World' which is a thing of man-made islands in the UAE. Or he could probably get me a new Vespa scooter.' It was like a game show. I was like, 'Umm... ok! I guess I'd take the Hawaii place... for a month...?' He was like, 'Great great...! Ok we'll figure this all out. Tells me he needs me...'
Then he checks his watch-- it's close to midnight and he tells me he has to go. He's going to meet with the guys who produced the film Loose Change (the 9-11 conspiracy movie) at 1AM. He wanted to know if I wanted to come along and meet them-- I was tempted but I hit the ceiling of meeting random people.
We said our goodbyes and he jumped in his car (rental car) and sped off. I was kind of stunned. I walked away in a bewilderfied haze. I immediately called my friend and told him he was 100% right. Regardless of what comes of it-- it was certainly worth the meetup. He was like, 'Right!? I told you!' The guy didn't ask me for anything but an email address. I figured worst case scenario I guess he rips me off on a cartoon?? And I show up in Hawaii at someone's house who doesn't know anything about my arrangement and doesn't know the guy. Best case scenario is I get closer to someone who might be one of the biggest genius on the planet?
I get home and start googling this guy. There wasn't alot out there about him. Just mentions here and there. Bloggy stuff. Some loose links to some political fundraising stuff. Then I research the electric cigarette company (which had a name and a site that included the board of directors). I found out that he did not invent this cigarette. At all. And in fact... he had nothing to do with it. Zero. No mention of him being involved with any of the other stuff either.
Anyway, I never heard from him again-- which was fine of course. Most likely everything he told me wasn't untrue in terms of his direct association to that stuff. That stuff did exist here and there-- but he's apparently driving none of it. Weird. Not sure what fueled that guy to drive from Connecticut to Brooklyn to display his imagined genius wares for some lazy cartoonist-- and then disappear. But I get the feeling he's still going full steam spinning in a whirlwind vortex of ideas and theories and possible self-delusion.
BUT you never know what people like that will eventually snag onto in reality. Because if he actually did hit on something and become attached to something real-- I'm convinced the one thing that guy could definitely do really well--- is sell it.