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Fool's gold

Writing by Isabela Caramico and illustration by Lucienne Saisselin.





 

 I believe if I didn’t enjoy soup so much, I would have accomplished so many more things in life. It is my love for soup that allows me to be so nuzzled up exactly where I am. People that don’t enjoy cheap food can’t rely on the comfort that awaits them no matter how hard their day has been. They have to find pleasure and meaning in other things – their jobs, romantic life, friendships, business models etc. Every now and again I encounter a very ambitious person of my age, one of those characters who are always hungry for more (never soup). Future CEOs and CFOs, you can meet this type all around, really. You can find them often lurking at coffee shops, waiting for the perfect opportunity to explain to another customer why the business model of the place is archaic, or giving back their coffee cup to the barista to explain the foam on their flat white is in fact too thick. These types can often be difficult to get on with (especially if you’re not so familiar with terms like “b2b” or “non-operational assets”), but they are always great achievers. They drink and drink but none of the liquid assets seem to ever quench their thirst. They have always done so much, are doing so much, and will do so much. They once built pyramids and opened red seas, now they conquer business sales and climb up the corporate ladder (bouldering). I sometimes envy them and all their hunger.


For me that’s not the case. I strongly believe soup could appease even the worst of my hungers, and is the sole culprit for my lack of ambition. Let’s imagine, for arguments sake, I have to get up early and take my regular 3hr commute to my shift at the worst job in the world (I will leave the precise occupation to you, reader, to avoid causing offense) where all my co-workers despise me and spit on me yelling “you soup hedonist, we hate you!”. And I come back after my 15hr shift to my home sweet home: a room the size of a peanut, perhaps a small almond, at rent of £650 per month (bills not included). I shout, “Honey I’m home!” and it echoes around the windowless nut (despite the diminutive nature of the room, it has nice acoustic). No response. I find a note from my lover saying he’s left me and that he never loved me and that he is sick and tired of having soup: “it is not enough, I’m not happy, I need a job, romantic life, friendships, business models, etc.”.


 I’m now drenched in a combination of my co-worker’s spit and my own tears. Hopeless. Broken. Wet. My stomach pushing up threatening to spill through my dry mouth, eyes watering from anger. I feel discontent. Flashes of revolution, Molotov cocktails, better business models, and a flat with East-facing windows flash through my mind - something ripples through my bones, rattling my jaw, and I realize I feel ambitious. I’ve had a terrible day and I want to change my life around. Thirsty for blood and hungry for justice I scream at the person nearest me to ‘bring me a flat white’ -it won’t quench my thirst; in fact, it will make me thirstier. I roll up my sleeves and beanie, and head to the nearest co-working space with brainstorming rooms, where I start developing the business model to surpass all business models. My ambition is so high it emanates from me, a pheromone which draws in all other high-driven entrepreneurs in the building. Soon enough, a crowd forms around me, watching magic happen in front of their eyes as I let my ambition take the shape of a business model. It is the work of a genius. My small-beanied co-workers stare in awe as I flesh out the canvas of my model. ‘The last time I witnessed something so beautiful was in 2005 when I watched Steve Job’s Stanford commencement address’, I hear one of them whisper, voice quivering with emotion.


Minutes, maybe hours go by, and the crowd around me is large enough to attract international attention. More than international attention, my model is brilliant enough to attract the attention of the five most important venture capitalists in American television. This is my chance to build my empire. ‘Hello, Sharks’. I begin my elevator pitch to the sharks, it reflects my skill set and core competencies, it leverages sales, it taps unthinkable markets, it is sleek and cool, and it is all home office. I can see the sharks are impressed. ‘I offer you half a million dollars in liquid assets’, one of them says. ‘That’s alright for my thirst, but what about my hunger?’ I ask, my voice booming in the tank. ‘We will give you 35% of low hanging fruits, and 20% of lunchable costs’ they are nervous, they’ve given me a tremendous bid. They are desperate for my model, but they know how ambitious I am and that there is truly no offer they could give me which could placate my hunger. Just as I am about to turn down the sharks, I hear the faint voice of my flatmate Anna cutting through the explosions, “I’m about to heat up my soup, are you having yours?”. I put my model canvas down and unroll my beanie. I have a portion of Minestrone left in the fridge; oh, I love Minestrone. And like that my revolution is postponed. My guts set back to where they usually stay – somewhere down my abdomen? - expectant of the luxury about to come its way. “I’ll be a minute!” I tell all my money-thirsty business colleagues and a group of very disappointed sharks and TV crew to go home “go to your soups! That’ll do it! It kills both the thirst and hunger at the same time!”, I resign from the crown, and dry myself from all the tears and spit. Anna is waiting for me in the kitchen “Oh Minestrone today? Nice, you must be treating yourself huh?”. “What? Oh yea, I’m pretty chuffed about it.”. And for the next minutes we sit in silence, slurping our soups away. It was a flawed model anyways, it relied too much on b2b.

 

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