by James Redfield
a mea culpa for me and Ruby!
once upon a time, a long time ago, i was an Entertainment Insurance Underwriter for AIG (well, a junior underwriter). i got to read a lot of scripts, i dealt with a lot of famous people, i got paid a lot of money. it was a time of much partying, much coke, an expense account, 1.5 assistants, and daily hangovers. one day i learned that i had written a movie policy that was so successful, so full of clever exclusions to coverage that it managed to cut off an entire family from any AIG benefits after a fatal helicopter crash. i found this out because the current CEO was visiting the san francisco office and decided to stop by and see this promising young underwriter to tell him "the good news". that was the day i realized that i was an evil person. i looked inside and didn't see a whole lot there. soon after, i quit my job and became a counselor for homeless kids, and so my life changed.
during this time period, i had an associate named Ruby. we had a complicated relationship, based around sex, drugs, and a long trip to Turkey. Ruby was a Crisis Management Underwriter... she wrote policies for folks working in danger zones. her policies included kidnap insurance, explosion insurance (car & building & home), insurance that included services from high-tech spy & security group Kroll and information brokers/ hostage negotiators Pinkerton, insurance that allowed you to insure various limbs and appendages so that you could get a financial return if you were kidnapped and some torture-amputation occurred. her promo materials included an empty swing with a teddy bear (kidnap insurance), the world on fire (global coverage), and some cute lil' gray styrofoam bombs. no joke. later, she quit her job and moved on to buying and selling condominiums.
we were two heartless people. Ruby's favorite book in the whole wide world was The Celestine Prophecy. it formed her view on life and how to live it... "it taught her so much". she read it multiple times, and loaned it to me. i loved it. "it spoke to me"... it gave me a perspective on the world that had me nodding my empty little head repeatedly in agreement while reading it.
good grief! this must have been a monstrous book indeed if it gave such toxic, horrible individuals a kind of bizarrely personalized spirituality and a host of new agey life lessons to cling to desperately. sometimes you can judge the value of a book by the readers who love that book.