We were all gathered in the meeting room. There was chatter and laughter until Clement called order to the crowd. I sat in the front row, pen in hand, ready to take notes.
How to get people to join the club:
-Step 1: Become friends with outsides.
-Step 2: Invite outsiders to our fun events.
-Step 3: Make sure they listen to the twist.
-Step 4: Get them to say the commitment.
-Step 5: Invite them to club
-Step 6: Repeat.
I had heard the steps before. Somehow they always broke down. I’d make a friends and invite them to an event. Most often they’d turn me down and I move on. Some have come to the events, but they don’t say the commitment. Then I think back to my friend Billy.
I met Billy in my Economics class. That evening we were having a fun fest, so I invited him to come. I started introducing him to my friends as we hung out, played games and listened to music. I kept glancing over at Billy. He was having a good time. I saw the smile growing on his face, and light in his eyes. It was time for the twist. We sat together as Jeremy explained the tenets of the club. All Billy had to do was believe and then say the commitment. I looked over at him. His eyes were fixed on Jeremy, his hands still. It was as if every pore in his body was listening. Billy nodded his head slowly to the rhythm of Jeremy’s voice.
Jeremy’s message was smoother. I swelled with pride as he explained the great club to which I belonged. He ended his thoughts with an invitation for outsides to join the club. I nudged Billy; he put up his hand.
I had done it! I had lured someone into the club. When the fest was over I said goodbye to Billy, and stayed to help clean up. I celebrated with my friends. They cheered and gave me high-fives.
I was excited to see Billy later that week in class.
“Are you coming to club today?” I asked him.
He shrugged, “What’s it about?”
“We’re going to talk about counter-arguments against those who don’t want to join the club.”
“I’m not interested in that.”
I was shocked! He had said it so offhandedly. “What do you mean?”
“I don’t want to argue people into the club. I am not even sure if I want to be a part of it.”
I gasped in unbelief. “How can you say that? You said the commitment!”
He looked down at the ground. “It was all in the moment. I don’t even know what the club is about. Does it do any good?”
“Yes!” I exclaimed. “We exist to tell others about the club.”
He looked like he had bitten into mouldy broccoli. “Why?”
That was obvious. “So that others will join the club.”
Billy shrugged. “I’m not interested,” he said, and he walked away.
I stared blankly after him. I wanted to chase him down. I wanted to get him to stay in the club. I thought I could talk to him in our next class, but he avoided me. He avoided me for the rest of the year, and then I never saw him again.
I tuned back into what Clement was saying. He gave three reasons we could give to people for why they should join the club. I wrote them down.