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Under the Influence

By Jerry Zezima

I have very little influence, even in my own home, which is the only place where I am a household name, but that won’t stop me from achieving my new and extremely dubious goal of being one of the most influential people in the world.

That’s right: I want to be an influencer.

Until recently, I didn’t know that influencers existed. Then I started reading about alleged celebrities who possess no discernible talent but are rich and, even more important, famous for being famous, despite the curious fact that they are not famous enough for me to have ever heard of them.

Still, they are making boatloads of money, which they presumably use to buy boats, by endorsing products that their zillions of social media followers will buy, thus giving them (the influencers) even more money.

I may not be rich, or have zillions of social media followers, or possess any discernible talent beyond the frightening ability to make stupid jokes at the drop of a hat, which I will pick up for you and put on my own head, but I do have one thing most influencers sorely lack: an excellent reputation.

I recently found this out when I saw that MyLife, an American information brokerage firm that gathers personal info on people through public records and other sources, has given me a score of 4.22 out of 5, which is 6 percent above the national average.

When I told my wife, Sue, about this impressive news, she said, “Do they have the right person?”

It was a good question because in order to get a full report, I will have to pay a fee that could be more than I will make as an influencer. Nonetheless, I know that my reputation is higher than that of most people, which makes you wonder who the hell they are and whether they are incarcerated.

Because I am a free man, and worth every penny, I have looked into products I could influence shamefully gullible people to purchase.

In my extensive research, which has so far covered approximately a minute and a half, I have discovered that influencers like to hawk jewelry. Aside from my wedding ring, which I got in 1978, I don’t wear jewelry.

Influencers, most of whom are decades younger than I am, also peddle skin-care products such as moisturizers. As a bona fide geezer, I don’t think even a tub of Turtle Wax would help remove my wrinkles.

So I came up with a product that not only is a boon to mankind, but one I use all the time: beer.

I once made my own beer, Jerry’s Nasty Ale, which went down smooth and came back up the same way. I don’t dare make another batch, so I decided to contact a company that produces a beer that has both excellent quality and a national reputation.

That’s why I called Samuel Adams (the brewery, not the dead patriot, who doesn’t answer his phone) to ask if I could be an influencer.

“We don’t have a formal influencer program,” said Brittany Zahoruiko, who oversees public relations for the company. “We’d have to take it on a case-by-case basis.”

“Did you say ‘case-by-case’?” I asked delightedly.

“I think I did,” Brittany replied, suddenly realizing she had made a beer pun. “I didn’t even mean to.”

In my case, being a Sam Adams influencer probably won’t work out.

But I know someone else who would be a good influencer for any product because her reputation is even better than mine: Sue.

On MyLife, she scored 4.76 out of 5, which is 12 percent above the national average.

“That’s twice as good as yours,” Sue said before asking me to take out the garbage.

“Yes, dear,” I replied. “In our house, at least, you have a lot of influence.”

— Jerry Zezima

Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Tribune News Service, which distributes it to newspapers nationwide and abroad. He is also the author of five books, Leave It to Boomer, The Empty Nest Chronicles, Grandfather Knows BestNini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures and Every Day Is Saturday, all of which are “crimes against literature.” He has won seven awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for his humorous writing.

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