Character Interview: Dr. Alan Gibb, from Franchisement

Franchisement is a way of thinking, a way of belonging, an outlet to your own identity.

The world has spent 10 centuries searching for potential solutions to maximize the profitability of human interconnection. We have tried everything to resolve our existential malaise and our constant sense of futility, and nothing works.

Over the centuries we have rushed to one organized corpus of thought (like philosophy and religion) in the vain search for clues to find joy. But people have continued to lose that "team feeling" about life, have continued to feel unfranchised.

That is, until Dr. Alan Gibb passed a young boy on the street wearing a pair of Mets shorts, a Red Sox t-shirt, and a Yankees cap, and the theory of human relationships called "Franchisement" was born.

Recently, we had the chance to sit down with the founder, ideator, and chief salesman of Franchisement (Doctor Alan Gibb) to explain this revolutionary concept. And he even agreed to do so without charging for his time.

This is that interview.


Q: Can you explain Franchisement in ten words or less?

AG: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

Q: That's the typing exercise for using all the letters of the alphabet.

AG: Exactly. It covers everything. As does Franchisement. No matter who you are or what you are--sex, ehtnicity, and favorite breakfast cereral immaterial--there's a place for you on the Franchisement grid. You belong.

Q: So it's really about togetherness.

AG: That you'd have to pay for us to research. I don't know enough about you.

Q: I mean speaking generally. It's about togetherness.

AG: If I knew what you meant by that, I could answer. But I don't know you. What do you mean by "speaking generally?" That might mean one thing for you and an entirely different thing for your upstairs neighbor. The key to Franchisement is the personal, and you don't exist personally for me. Give me a clue.

Q: I like baseball.

AG: So what? So did Hitler.

Q: I never knew that.

AG: He was a New York Yankee personality with a Philadelphia Phillies PITS.

Q: A what?

AG: PITS. His Positional Identity Trait Sign.

Q: What's that?

AG: What it says--his Positional Identity Trait Sign. You can only have one PITS at a time.

Q: I didn't know that.

AG: But it's up to you to choose which PITS.

Q: Oh.

AG: Franchisement doesn't force things on its customers.

Q: That sounds good.

AG: Start telling people who they are and they aren't those people; they're who they say they are.

Q: Not the same thing.

AG: Not at all. You want to be who you are, not somebody else.

Q: Of course not.

AG: Look out any window and you'll see thousands of unfranchised people walking the streets. They don't know where they're going. They don't know where they've come from. Makes you want to keep the blinds closed.

Q: I confess I'm at a loss...

AG: A classic Phillies PITS symptom. Maybe it would be better if you just started off with a Franchisement Unique Number. Your FUN. That usually relaxes first-time customers.

Q: But I'm not a customer. I'm here to interview you.

AG: An identity trait like any other. Give it a try. Your FUN number.

Q: Any number?

AG: After the one on your credit card...No, no, don't say it out loud. There may be hackers listening. Just let me see it...Okay, good. Now what FUN do you want?

Q: Pretty expensive fun.

AG: Go ahead. Your FUN number.

Q: How about...361?

AG: I don't know. You tell me. What's special about 361 for you?

Q: It's 360 plus one.

AG: So not just everything, but one more than everything.

Q: Not that I want to seem greedy.

AG: Franchisement doesn't judge.

Q: Who else has picked 361?

AG: You mean your Famous Franchisement Folks?

Q: Who?

AG: Your Famous Franchisement Folks. Your FFF.

Q: Oh.

AG: Part of your sense of belonging. Through the ages.

Q: Right. Can't be many in my case.

AG: Off the top of my head I can say John the Baptist, Robespierre, and Ted Williams.

Q: Not the worst company, I guess.

AG: As I said, we don't judge; we just process.

Q: If I want another FFF, can I change down the road?

AG: That's why all those numbers exist.

Q: So I'm really not committed to anything.

AG: One of the first lessons Franchisement learned from horoscopes. You start thinking of yourself as a scorpion or a cancer, say, you eventually get depressed. Who wants to be a scorpion or a cancer every day? You wake up in the morning, and you're crawling or coughing your lungs out before you even get out of bed. That wasn't good for you and it certainly wasn't good for the astrology business. So they created all these half-moons and cusps and crap for more possibilities. That's what we've had in place since the very beginning.

Q: But doesn't that leave you and Franchisement open to criticism?

AG: None that I've heard.

Q: Well, I mean if you can be anything, how can you ever be something?

AG: That sounds like a philosophical question, and we could be sitting here debating it all week. You may have that time, but I don't.

Q: You sound very self-confident, Dr. Gibb.

AG: Thank you.

Q: I mean in a kind of smug way.

AG: I never heard that criticism before.

Q: Really?

AG: I'm beginning to think you might be a New York Mets Personality.

Thank you for reading our interview with Franchisement founder Dr. Alan Gibb!

If you liked what you read, check out the satirical novel Franchisement by Donald Dewey. Dr. Gibb's got plenty more head-scratching, hilarious moments as you'd expect after reading this interview.

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