I have to say that I’ve met a lot of petty men throughout my life. I’ll also admit that a few of these men were actually individuals that I myself hired. The problem with deception is that it has to be proactive and uninterrupted in order to incur reality in the minds of the people that believe in it.
The real name of the person that I hired was Barry Donovan. He came highly recommended from another sporting goods store and I felt assured he would do an excellent job for our company. However, the first day he started working with us, he told me that his real name was Wendell Young.
Now, everyone at that time knew of Wendell Young. Wendell young was a Stanley Cup winning goaltender in the NHL. The Canadian NHL goalie played for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, and Vancouver Canucks. He retired in 2001 and is currently General Manager of the Chicago Wolves.
I then asked him, “Should I make the cheques out to Wendell Young then, or Barry Donovan?”
“For now I want to try to be incognito and not ruffle feathers with the people that know me well,” he said.
I looked at him and replied, “Ok, from now on we’ll all call you Wendell.”
What I liked about him was that he was a goalie that played in various men’s leagues. By playing at these men’s leagues he would attract a lot of new customers into our store. Some of these guys couldn’t believe that Wendell Young actually worked for our store.
My skate technician even believed that he was the real deal. In fact, he managed to find one of Wendell Young’s hockey cards. Unfortunately though, on the hockey card Wendell Young had his mask on, so it was hard to identify the exact facial features. My technician used a magnifying glass to see if it was really him.
It seemed like the deception was gaining traction. I even had women coming over to my store asking for his autograph and taking pictures with him. Kids would purchase new equipment and conclude by asking if he would be kind enough to take a few pictures with him. Needless to say, I was happy, business was booming and revenue was increasing.
My girlfriend at the time was unemployed. With business increasing, I decided to hire her part-time. I put her in the basement most days to organize all the youth equipment and label the products with appropriate prices. She was so enamored with Wendell Young that she couldn’t believe an ex-NHL goalie actually worked for our establishment.
Young was so charming that every chance he had, he would go work with her in the basement cleaning the used equipment and marking the correct skate sizes. I wasn’t annoyed because I had no time to teach my girlfriend about hockey equipment. The only time it annoyed me was when she kept bringing up his name. I couldn’t disappoint her, so I decided to hide the real truth of who he really was.
When hockey teams would arrive at my store, at first they’d be so honored that they were in the presence of Wendell Young. Having Young playing in men’s leagues was very prestigious in their quest to dominate other teams.
A captain of one of these teams told me, “You know, he seems to have more off days than good days, must be the old age eh? Poor sucker is probably tired of hockey.”
Without even thinking, I told the captain, “Young likes to play around a lot. He seems to rent himself out to other teams as a rent-a-goalie. Perhaps that’s why he’s so tired and can not focus on the puck. I heard some of the corporate teams had to kick him off their teams because he was letting in some weak goals.”
However, this particular captain resolved his issues by advertising that he has a pro goalie playing on his team and now many spectators were randomly showing up to watch their games.
When I went to the Montreal Hockey Sporting Goods Show, I was away from work for a whole week. When I got back my girlfriend was acting rather strange. She told me she couldn’t work for me anymore, even though I clearly knew she had nowhere else to go. I thought nothing of it and told her, “I’m glad you’re gonna’ be putting your resume together so that you can get a real job.”
Since she was apparently getting her resume together, she indicated that she wanted to put our relationship on the backburner for a little while. I told her, “No problem, focus on yourself for a bit. I’m extremely busy right now anyways and need to concentrate my efforts on other areas of growth for the business.”
Young asked me to play goal one day because the other team was missing their goalie. I said yes and showed up to the arena within an hour. I quickly put on my gear and got on the ice just in time for puck drop. I looked at the other bench and saw my girlfriend sitting amongst the other team. I lifted up my helmet to reveal my face when the puck was on the other side of the ice to get her attention. When she looked at me I saw her mouth open and eyes bulge. After the game she was nowhere to be seen.
Young came into work the next day and I confronted him. “Listen, I’m not a fan of deception, and unfortunately you’ve overextended your duration of working with me. I can’t have people coming in to get your autograph believing you are an NHL star.” He looked confused and said nothing. He asked for his pay so I gave him his cheque.
The name on the cheque was Wendell Young, and I refused to change that. Fortunately, he was eventually charged for impersonating the real Wendell Young. To this day, I keep hearing the name of Barry Donovan coming up as Wendell Young. He came full circle in determining who he really is in the protracted lie and a plethora of teams that believed the deception. The deception played on two parts and I’m glad the game came to an end.