Me, Herbalife and Meyer Wolfsheim
Updated: Jan 26, 2022
In The Great Gatsby, mobster Meyer Wolfsheim wore cufflinks made from human molars. Just to paint the setting.
I now realize that when I worked at Herbalife years ago, in Los Angeles (well, Inglewood, and sometimes Century City), I was working with the people who succeeded Mark Hughes, founder, who died under shady circumstances after the Russian market opened and his stock buyout failed (or was foiled). His successors dressed nice, they smelled nice, some of them had their dark hair slicked back with half a tin of pomade, and they had beautiful secretaries. And they just loved me there for my PowerPoint skills. My crappy PowerPoints were being shown to the Herbalife Zeuses and Apollos, the multi millionaires to whom I was the trusted mailroom boy. I loved every minute of it and remember it fondly.
I realize this is so scant as to scarcely count as a memory, but close your eyes and imagine the fade-ins, the screen swipes and the letters to a heading flying in one letter at a time, and a big man at the end of the table clipping his fingernails and saying "Boys, this'll make us all billionaires!" and you get the picture.
I guarantee that most of the above is 100% true.
I could add more but it would only detract from my impressions, but I will say this: my big boss Chuck was one of the nicest men I've met. He advised me not to get married, which I ignored. He said I should just write a check for half of everything I own and be done with it. Once, he sent my soon-to-be wife and I to a tech writers conference in Santa Barbara on the company dime, even though neither of us was presenting and I don't think we attended a single session, but we had a nice stay on the beach. Chuck retired to be a golf pro at a local course and was quite happy.
My immediate boss Michelle was kind and friendly and helped steer me between the rocks of office politics, for which I am very grateful. I remember once she was so happy because she had purchased a house in Signal Hill, and then I found out the house was 1100 sq ft and I thought "damn, that's a house? And it cost that much?" because I was used to bigger and more affordable houses where I came from, but I was happy for her.
And my teammates threw me a very nice going away party when my then-wife and I decided to move back to the Midwest for her health. Me and my work team went to some fish-and-chips place on the beach that was supposed to be like an authentic English pub, and Chuck burdened me with tons of Herbalife swag (I still have the travel bag), and all my coworkers wished me good luck and said they'd miss me, which was doubly nice because I had had to overcome the stigma of being a "hick from the sticks" and earn their trust.
I could add my memory of "Jeopardy Bill," a brilliant shy tall coworker who made it onto Jeopardy (taped at nearby Culver City) as a sub for a contestant from across the country who didn't show up, but then I'd really be dragging things on.
He came in second and won a trip to a dude ranch.