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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tony! Toni! Toné!

I spent yesterday watching all my old motivational favorites. They're like sitcom reruns now. Michael Beckwith is my Alex P. Keaton.

I wrapped up with some montages of seminars conducted by Tony Robbins. From what I gather from these videos, people first step up to a microphone with tears in their eyes, then beam with happiness to signify transformation, and then at the end, the whole crowd is ecstatically dancing to a generic song on electric guitar that sounds like the music from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Then driving home late last night, I stopped at the corner of Can’t Remember and there was a giant billboard for Tony Robbins.


This morning I eyed the floor for a good fifteen minutes before I got out of bed. I was paralyzed by the image of a stone wall, and beyond that, a really tall ocean, and I wished for more time alone on the oceanless side of the wall and without the ocean pressing like a giant heartbeat.

-What’s the worst that would happen if you let the wall come down, and you let the ocean in.
-I don’t think I would drown.
-Okay. Then what would happen.
-I'd get tossed around.
-What would that look like?
-A voiceless figure riding on waves created by other people's decisions.

Unleash the Power Within. I locate the Long Beach package and it’s $795. I wonder if I could work out some kind of payment plan with Tony, seeing as within a year of my attending his workshop I will be dining on liquified gold.

Registration is in the Grand Ballroom. The image of standing in line in a huge room with flat paisley carpet in a nametag makes me nauseous and reminds me of bagel-breath. Question: Wouldn't a ballroom have a hardwood floor? Answer: No. Most of them look like they’re used for Amway banquets.

I imagine getting seated in the balcony next to a total pervert who won't even let me hear what Tony Robbins is saying, starting with questions like, "Do you really believe this stuff works?" and then trying to get my respect by telling me he "...USED to be suicidal, but you know what keeps me alive now? WOMEN." And then I have to excuse myself and ask an usher if I can please switch places, and then I'm sitting in my new seat feeling guilty that maybe now I had ruined the pervert’s 795 dollar workshop, and then I imagine him stepping up the mike and saying “My problem….is this woman here,” and he’d point me out in the mezzanine and a spotlight would follow, and I’d say, “Tony, I didn’t do anything.” Then Tony would ask me my dream and I’d say to be “the best solo performer I can be”, and then a month later a new Tony Robbins Montage would come out with images of me crying and ruin my professional credibility.

In the second half of the seminar, Tony asks us to walk across hot coals. I imagine myself not only participating, but volunteering to go first. Tony can see something in me he's never seen before....I'm his new self-improvement prodigee, and he's REALLY going to turn my life around. "This woman..." he'll tell Charlie Rose, using me as an example, was living alone, "with nothing but a toaster oven and a copy of The Artist's Way..."

Then I see myself crossing the hot coals, and I'm the first one ever to scald the bottom of my foot, and I leave in a cast saying to Tony, "But I still learned a lot!"

Oh no, I think, as I pour hot sauce on my garden taco, I’ve crossed over to the dark side.

“I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. But then when I saw Tony…I mean, you have to be in the room. At first you wonder, how is he going to help me in a room with 4000 other people? But Tony reached me. He brought me up front, stuck his giant hand through my chest and squeezed my heart. I saw it bubble in his hand. He said IS THIS A HEART OR NOT? Of course I said yes, but I kept thinking I DON’T KNOW. IT LOOKS LIKE A COOKED TOMATO. Anyway, he has this huge presence. You HAVE to go.”
-Lizzy Cooperman, person with formerly untouched heart

Thursday, June 3, 2010