cashing in

The Secret of Life?

I read a story today about an ad that proclaimed to offer the “Secret of life” for the low price of 25 shillings. Intrigued, the author wrote a letter and included the price asked in the ad. A short time later he received an answer that stated simply “If you believe the Secret of Life would be available for a mere 25 shillings, you don’t deserve it. Please send 50 shillings to receive the Secret of Life.”

You have to love the chutzpah.



It got me thinking, how many are doing the same thing today? Maybe not so brazenly, but certainly in the same vein: “Secret to weight loss, Secret to Business Success, Secret to meeting the love of your life, etc…” Everyone has a hole they’re looking to fill in their lives and for each one, there are hundreds looking to fill it for them. 

For the less mature among you, this is a good place to pause for jokes.

I thought for a moment about setting up a site with a simple shopping cart and offering the “Secret of Life” for a dollar. Then, after people paid, I’d send them some fortune cookie quote that would purport to be the secret. Like, “Love is all you need” or some other platitude from the Beatles. Ugh. 

I couldn’t do it though. Not only for the technical barriers, but the idea of being one more jackanape preying on the weaknesses of well intentioned people was just too much. Afterall, someone already wrote “The Secret” which was about as bad as it gets. Cashing in on such garbage isn’t something I’d like to be involved in but I recognize it does sell. And maybe that’s what’s so sad about the whole thing.

Remember, if you see someone selling the Secret of Life for a pittance, you’re guaranteed of two things:

1. You get what you pay for. 

2. It wasn’t me.