This I Believe

Mister - Norwell, Massachusetts
Entered on September 9, 2007

I knew these people. I’ve known them for a long time, but not particularly well. They were all very nice to me. One day, they asked me if I would walk around Dijon, France with them. They seemed like good people, so I did. I am not a drinker not am I a smoker by any means. I despise all of that stuff. There were about 9 of us and they led me to a bar. We were 17 and 18 year old Americans at the time, and they decided to take advantage of the French laws. They all ordered alcoholic beverages in the bar, which surprised me, because I did not think that any of them drank, but it became clear to me that I was terribly mistaken. Almost all of them then took out cigarettes and cigars. This shocked me even more for the same reasons. One of them even puffed cigar smoke in my face numerous times. They said that that cigar was the worst that they had ever smelled. I lost my trust in people in general that day. I lost my respect for them completely, and I then looked for new friends. I thought I knew these people, but I truly did not.

After my new friends helped me gain trust in humanity again, I began to trust strangers. I got a letter in the mail the following summer advertising for a job opportunity. It did not say what the job was, but I figured it would satisfy me, so I went to the interview, went through training and got the job. Even during training, I was unaware of what my job was going to be, what the company did and where I would be working, but I decided to go along with it still. The job ended up being a terrible scam. I want to say “working for an illegal corporation” as if I was employed, but I was not. I was an independent contractor, so I did not receive any possible employee benefits. I was in more debt after starting the job than I was before I started it. There was no respect for the company or its workers, because there is no reason they would want to fire or to not hire an individual, because they are just as much of a customer as other customers are. In fact, we were customers who sold their product and made them money on no expense of themselves. Throughout working for them, they continued to spam me with their own job opportunities and more scams.

I had finally regained my trust in humanity, and quickly it was stripped away much harder than it was before. I’ve learned that I must know who my “friends” are and who my “enemies” are. Trust belongs to my friends, not my enemies. My enemies may be good people, I might get along with them, they may be nice to me, but they do not share the same motifs as I.