Once upon a time, there was Sales Rep for Bose who suffered from Loud Man’s Disease. He loved blasting The Who, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC at work in the listening booth before he turned borderline deaf. Now, all Michael the Sales Rep from Bose hears is AC/DC’s song ‘Hells Bells’. Michael Yeller always believed that louder is better until now, because he was longer able to sing ‘Search and Destroy’ by Iggy Pop and the Stooges at the local Karaoke bar in White Plains, NY after work with his boss.
Growing up, Michael only wanted to play air guitar like the great metal shredders on the walls of his childhood room, which included pictures Mick Mars from Motley Crew, the Freddy Kruger of shredding; the steel guitar-slaying Gypsy Road howler Tom Kiefer from Cinderella; and the Tasmanian Devil of pretty good metal pop, CC Deville, from Poison.
Later, Michael tried to learn the guitar after his parents got him an acoustic one for Hannukah, but he’d already started smoking weed by junior year in high school, so the hand dexterity and hours of practice necessary to assume any semblance of functional playing mastery over the guitar were out of his self-imposed reach.
After college, Michael tried to make a living as an IT Headhunter in LA, but IT directors half his age didn’t appreciate being hounded by a such a loudmouth New Yorker, who had less voice control than Busta Rhymes at a midnight showing of Higher Learning.
Also, everyone in LA is very cagy, accustomed to time alone in their cars and airy, open rooftop hotel bars and nondescript, low-key bars on random, zero-foot traffic streets; unaccustomed to Vince Vaughn clones from Swingers from New York like Michael, who was actually told to hush while on a date to see Eric Clapton at the Hollywood Bowl, once.
Eventually, Michael moved back to NY, did digital ad sales for Citysearch, and started to try open mike stand-up comedy. When working for Citysearch, he’d say, on stage, “Citysearch is a city guide used mostly by gay men to find who gives the best facial.”
But Michael struggled to unleash his inner rockstar on stage, because if his first joke bombed, he could never win the audience back, which stripped him of the confidence to riff and piggyback off the waves of laughter, opting to go into any newly-inspired direction of hilarity he chooses.
At the Christmas party for Citysearch, Michael sang his best rendition of ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ yet, which he had perfected over the years. The high-end 15-year Macallan scotch helped. Still, he got fired the next day for getting blackout drunk and dry humping the coat check girl on the dance floor to ‘Oh What A Feeling’.
Knowing that Michael couldn’t pay rent through playing air guitar renditions of ‘Fallen Angel’ in Times Square, or make any money at stand-up comedy in NYC because he had to actually invite his friends to get performing time at the NY Comedy Club at all, he decided to find a job where his loud man disease could be neutralized—where it wouldn’t become such a career-hindering liability.
He got a job in the suburbs at The Westchester Mall in White Plains, NY, selling state-of-the-art stereo equipment for Bose. Michael’s boss gave him some leeway and allowed him to tell some jokes, because he knew the stand-up comedy bug wasn’t out of his system altogether. Michael would be selling noise cancellation headphones (“Yenta Silencers” is what he’d call them, specifically, before trying new bits on random customers such as, “Did you know that Google fired twenty-five software engineers for sexual harassment? But, software engineers are too busy banging out code to hit on girls at work. Plus, if you’re a software engineer at Google, your typical Pearl command script isn’t “Massage my carpel tunnel, ho.”).
But one day, during a demo presentation for AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’ on surround sound in the primo listening sampling room at work, Michael lost his ability to hear fully, now only hearing the death knell church bell clang to ‘Hells Bells’. Was God punishing Michael for his Loud Man’s Disease, forever? How could Michael ever sing Karaoke again, now losing all semblance of voice control whatsoever?
Michael was a really a good sales rep for Bose, but the reality is, the speakers sold themselves. Michael’s boss and favorite Karaoke partner let him keep his job at Bose, but got him off the sales floor to work as a blogger for their digital marketing team instead, allowing him to rant and rave about all the loudest and proudest, most badass metal rock records of all time (which are only accentuated on Bose’s premium blast speakers, naturally).
Michael would fire off blog record recommendations for albums by The Who, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, and Van Halen with divine-powered authority. He’d pound the keyboard nonstop all day long, which was sweet music to his boss’s ears, knowing that his employee and friend Michael could channel his love of fast, loud, kickass metal like a Bat Out Of Hell, which sent his heart soaring, flying high again.
In the end, Michael couldn’t sell Bose speakers on the main sales floor anymore, but he was still able to sell his love of loud metal music through his blogs, and also had the kickass, momentous clang of Hell’s Bells playing in his head, for company. And Michael didn’t need Meatloaf to tell him that two out of three ain’t bad.