The Gentle Snap : Note 1 — Snapping Out of It

John Dalton
Mar 4, 2018 · 6 min read

It wasn’t going well. I looked from the man, to his wife, then back to the man again and still I couldn’t come up with a good answer for this fucking guy who kept ruining my brilliant sales pitch.

We’re all decent people here. Aren’t we? Why is this guy so suspicious of me? Yes, his mother is in hospital and my sales pitch is delaying his visit but this was more important. Wasn’t it?

He wasn’t supposed to even be here. I was here to pitch his wife. He just invited himself, like he was the wife police there to keep an eye on her. Like I might manipulate her into signing her life away.
Jesus I was selling a dream here not trying to get her into a cult!

It’s true I had received extensive, and ongoing, training in how to deal with every objection she might have come up with, and a few she’d probably never have thought of, but that wasn’t manipulation. Was it?
I was just trying to help her change her life. I was doing it for her for fucks sake!

I had just delivered one of my better selling point analogies, reassuring, folksy, logical. The wife nodded encouragingly. The husband snorted. The wife stopped mid nod and darted him a look for explanation. It wasn’t forthcoming.

That’s where we were at in the sales pitch. The wife was frozen mid nod. The husband had snorted. Again. And I was left looking at the two of them wondering what the fuck to say next.

“What’s your problem?” I heard himself say to the man.

I hadn’t planned on saying that. It certainly wasn’t part of the script. It kind of slipped out while I was thinking of something to say. But planned or not the effect was catastrophic.

There was a hushed kind of silence in the room, but not the good kind.

“Ernie,” the wife said to me in quiet disappointed shock.

“What’s my problem?” the man repeated. He was smug now, like he knew he’d won in some way.

I groped around inside for a way to make my stupid question become intelligent. Nothing came.

“You don’t come into my house and ask me what my problem is!” he said slowly rising to his feet.

“I don’t think he meant . . .,” the wife said.

“I think you should leave now,” the man said cutting her off.

And that was pretty much that.

As I waited for my toast to pop the next morning I thought there must have been a million things I could have said that might have retrieved the situation. I’m sure Phil would have said something very smooth. Phil always had something to say. Sometimes what he had to say made my skin crawl but I’m finding it hard to imagine him saying anything as stupid as, “What’s your problem?” He’d be calling me soon wanting to know how it went last night.

I’d been slugging away at sales for the last year and it hadn’t gotten any easier. I thought it would. It hadn’t. I thought I’d be making a lot more money at this stage too. I wasn’t. Christ knows I had enough dream boards and I’d set enough goals.

Now I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for new people to prospect. That couple last night were a very tenuous connection. I vaguely knew the wife from a job I’d had four years ago. She had worked in a different department but we’d been friendly at the coffee station and I’d helped her carry some heavy boxes to her car once. That had been my “in,” when I’d gotten in touch with her.

Remind the prospect of your trustworthiness within the first three sentences.

Prospect, I understood the need for the lingo but it felt unnatural.

My phone rings. That will be Phil. My suit jacket is hanging dejectedly on the chair opposite from last night. I reach over to pat it down looking for my phone. Normally I always put my phone in the same pocket on the inside left but after last nights cluster fuck of a sales pitch I don’t know what pocket it ended up in.

While I’m rummaging around in the pockets I find an envelope. I don’t remember putting an envelope in that pocket. Or any other pocket come to think of it. As I turn it over I see that my name is written on it. The handwriting very similar to my own. That’s odd.

I find my phone, Phil’s clean cut face is looking back at me with an air of quiet judgement. When I’d joined up a year ago Phil had sent me the photo with the accompanying text.


That’s not weird is it?

At the time I blindly did as I was told but it just occurred to me that I didn’t have to. I could change it and he would never know because it only ever appeared when he was calling me and if he was calling me he wouldn’t be standing right beside me looking at my phone. Well I fucking hope not anyway.

“And it’s only taken you a year to figure that out. Way to go Ernie.” I say aloud as I take his call putting him on speaker and changing his caller ID to Megatron.

“How’s it going killer?” Phil says, “How did it go last night?”

“Yeah, not great . . . ,” I say opening the envelope, “What the fuck!”

“I didn’t quite catch that buddy.”

“Can I call you back Phil?”

“Sure but just tell me this, did you sign them up? I just need to know for my numbers.”

“No. I didn’t sign them up.”

There’s silence on the other end of the phone. I can hear the machinery of positivity grinding away in Phil’s head. I know he’s rifling through the training trying to find a way to put a positive spin on it.

But I’m not really concentrating on Phil. I’m completely distracted by the note I’ve just found. It’s written in my handwriting. Not a bit like my handwriting but exactly my hand writing. Except I didn’t write it.

Then there are the contents which, if it’s possible, are even weirder…

Snapping Out of It

The world you wake up into each morning is not real.
Your real life is happening parallel to what you call reality.
And it’s great.
How do I know?
I’m you in the past.
Not a past life or anything like that. I’m you, just like you remember yourself yesterday, or ten minutes ago, or at the beginning of this sentence.
I’m the voice in your head reading these words.
I’m you, just from a bit further back.
I’m you before you were born.
I know you won’t remember that. You won’t remember writing these words when you’re reading them now.
Not remembering doesn’t change that you wrote them.
It’s no accident you’re reading them now either.
You wanted to remember the difference between your real life and the world you call reality.
The timing has been important too. You only wanted to remember if the need arose.
You’re reading these words now so the need has arisen.
Don’t worry it’s not something bad. The opposite in fact. Something good is happening.


I’m the voice in your head reading these words.

I nearly dropped the phone when I heard myself reading those words.

That is trippy.
And tricky.
I felt like the voice in my head reading the words, the voice I hadn’t even noticed before, had been invaded, taken over before I had a chance to realise what was happening.

“We can talk about this later,” Phil was saying.

“ Righto,” I heard myself say hanging up. I wasn’t paying that much attention.

You won’t remember writing these words when you’re reading them now.
Not remembering doesn’t change that you wrote them.

I didn’t remember writing those words or any others.
Did I really write that, and then neatly fold it and put it in an envelope and write my own name on it?

I sat staring at the note for a long time.

John Dalton

Written by

Artist and Writer, Kerry, Ireland. Art podcast — gently does it . . . .