The White Elephant in the room: My hypothetical conversation with you, in which I convince you to buy my book

Dave: I need people to buy my book.

You: Why? Didn't you already get paid, Dave?

Dave: Yes, I did, but the better "Make the Bible Work for You" sells, the more likely a publisher will want to put out another book of mine. And I've got great ideas for the next book, ideas such as "How to Fight Zoo Animals" and "Which Animal Hates Me Most: A child's guide to the zoo."

You: I have always wondered how best to defend myself at the zoo. Those animals give you such hateful looks.

Dave: Exactly. So, I need to ask you a favor.

You: You can't borrow my car. It still has burn marks on it from the last time you borrowed it.

Dave: I'm sorry, I ran out of gas and I panicked.

You: The time before that, you tried to drive it into the lake.

Dave: I couldn't figure out how to get AM stations. Don't worry, this has nothing to do with your car.

You: Then what?

Dave: I would like you to help me turn "Make the Bible Work for You" into THE white elephant gift of the holiday season.

You: You certainly put a lot of emphasis on the word "the."

Dave: Yes, I did. I hope I didn't alarm you.

You: No, I tend to look perpetually astonished. But why make your book a white elephant gift? Why not just a holiday gift?

Dave: Amazingly perceptive question, my friend. I think that the more people who see the book, the more that might purchase it. And what better place for a lot of people to see the book than a white elephant gift exchange?

You: Dammit, Dave, that's a tremendous idea.

Dave: Thanks. So, I would ask you to seriously consider purchasing "Make the Bible Work for Me" and then gifting it away.

You: Well, I don't want to be in a jerk, but I have to ask, what's in it for me?

Dave: That's a fair question and I've got three answers for you. Number one, it makes economic sense.

You: What the f?

Dave: Think of it this way. Let's say you go to a novelty store and buy some crappy plastic gun that shoots little plastic sheep.

You: Unless you want me to throw this wind-up fire-breathing nun in the direction of your face, you won't further belittle novelty stores.

Dave: I'm not, I'm just saying that your sheep gun present is going to get two possible laughs. Once, when it's opened. And the second time when somebody at work accidentally gets shot in the eye.

You: I can't argue with your analysis. Go on.

Dave: There are 160 different humor-style entries in "Make the Bible Work for You." That gives people more than 150 chances to read something that they think is funny, even more if they have poor short-term memory or have a concussion.

You: Hmm, I'm looking at my calculator watch and your numbers don't lie.

Dave: Secondly, it will give people something to look at, rather than at each other. Holiday parties can be orgasmic jamborees of awkwardness, where coworkers desperately try to find something in common beyond workplace proximity. The more people are looking at my book, the less they're talking to each other.

You: Yes, I can see how that could be valuable. And number three?

Dave: Nothing is more fun to talk about at holiday parties than religion.

You: OK, you've sold me. Your arguments are well reasoned and compelling. Anything else I should know?

Dave: One more thing, when you're talking to friends in the next month and they're complaining about having to find a white elephant gift, why don't you mention "Make the Bible Work for You" to them? You can tell them that it's going to be THE white elephant gift of the season.

You: I asked you to stop shouting "the."

Dave: Sorry. By the way, you smell terrific.


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