“My name is Marche, pronounced “mar-shay,” it’s French.” With that introduction, I knew I wasn’t facing a typical government worker/bureaucrat. She’s an imposing black woman (I’m sorry, that just seems more accurate than an imposing "African-American" woman..there’s a history, maybe just in white consciousness, of such figures in movies, sometimes, in bygone years, they would play the maid or housekeeper, but you knew they ran the whole operation and were a lot smarter and more competent than their employers—Queen Latifah or Oprah Winfrey would play the roles today--and I just reminded myself to talk about my early appearance on OPRAH in a future posting.)
I was broke and just out of prison, I desperately needed some kind of positive response about collecting Social Security benefits, and she immediately set my mind at ease with her calm, compassionate, and highly efficient presence. Her fingers flew over the keyboard of her computer as she talked to me in a way that left me awestruck, having been forcibly removed from the cyber world for twelve years, and she, or at least her nimble fingers, seemed superhuman.
I had several problems or obstacles. For one, I did not have the one document considered absolutely essential, a birth certificate. For all I knew, it was floating around somewhere in the labyrinth of the Folsom mail system. I had been trying to get a copy for over a year, with the help of several friends on the outside. It took literally months to find the right place to contact and get the right form to fill out. But my copy never came, and I was paroled. (it showed up weeks later, forwarded to my parole agent’s office from Folsom). But Marche tossed that problem aside as if were a gnat flying harmlessly around. She did the same with the fact that I didn’t have a driver’s license or California I.D. I had been told I needed one of the other. In fact, it is the one solitary thing the Department of Corrections pays for when an inmate paroles. So I had gone that first day of freedom to the DMV and applied. They took my picture and fingerprints and then told me it would take a couple of weeks. In what I now have to regard as “the good old days” before 9/11, you would get your I.D. or license a few minutes after getting your picture taken. So much for a more efficient era called the computer age.
None of this daunted Marche, who plowed through the red tape with her fingers on the keyboard, and told me I would be paid for the month of August, even though it was the end of that month, and would receive my first benefits check very shortly, in early September. She told what materials I would have to eventually get to her, like an address when I found a place to live, and a copy of that elusive birth certificate, and sent me merrily on my way.
And I really mean merrily. I don’t know if I have the descriptive skills to accurately convey what such an oasis in a mostly uncaring world feels like to an emerging ex-convict, being forced to live in a county where he doesn’t know a soul, without family or assets, and only the pair of pants and one shirt he paroled with. I was floating as freely as Marche’s fingers over that keyboard. She had not only made my day, she had reinforced my belief in the basic kindness of my fellow human beings, and the basic abundance of the universe I was now re-entering. I felt kinship with FDR, who invented Social Security, and whom my mother had worked for in several of his election campaigns. I even remembered how the first time I had ever seen her cry was the day he died. It was a very special moment, thanks to Marche, filled with hope and the awakening of new possibilities.
Flash forward a couple of months, and I am now very involved in my new life. Working on my literary agent’s suggestion that I submit a book proposal on the health benefits of one of my true passions, dark chocolate. And surprisingly involved in marketing a specific brand of such chocolate that appears to be the single healthiest and most nutritious product on the planet, and whose taste is described by a young friend as “The Bomb.” One of my goals is to enroll really strong leaders in this business with me, and assist them in becoming financially independent as well as a lot healthier, while having lots of fun eating and sharing dark chocolate. And I immediately thought of Marche, thinking to myself, “I wonder if she would possibly be interested, if she could use some extra income, or has any health issues, or—most importantly—loves dark chocolate.” I don’t know the answers yet, as I haven’t figured out how to approach her. Wait a minute, maybe I can send her a note and suggest she check out this posting..Aha!
And if you want to find out why this company, MXI, is called "The Company With A Heart", contact me via e-mail
at firstname.lastname@example.org This is a team operation, as such you can also check out the blog of Hope and Thom Kiah at
www.darkchocolatebenefits.net. And do any of this only if you love dark chocolate and like to have fun
earning a great income. If you prefer milk chocolate and are the serious type, don't bother, this isn't for you. We still
think you're a great person and wish you lots of luck, we just don't want to work with you.