Just when I thought BS had finished giving birth to a miniature BS, and his labour pains had subsided, he decided to let out another scream of pain. My initial reaction was that he was possibly having twins, and the second mini BS was about to pop. God, could you imagine a world with 3 BS’s. It really doesn’t bear thinking about, so I will shut up about that for now.
His second attack was far more powerful than his first. This time he had a full round of ammo in his weapon AKA his email account. Email was without a shadow of a doubt the weapon of choice for BS. He was very gifted and skilled in this form of weaponry. His email was like a semi-automatic firearm more so than a pistol, in that he wouldn’t simply fire one shot at a time; it would usually be a succession of shots, in very close proximity and at great speed. But when I say semi-automatic, I don’t mean an M16 or anything modern like that (contemporariness didn’t usually feature anywhere in his being), it was more like a vintage rifle such as the M1 Garand.
I am pretty sure that if BS had been in the hunger games and managed to get his hands on a laptop in the arena (with a pre-installed version of MS Outlook on it), not even Katniss would have been safe.
So, on 31st August 2013, after a momentary lapse in correspondence from BS (which simply turned out to be an ammunition reloading period), round two of shots were fired. Below are some of the bullets.
Have a guess what he talks about in the first shot? You guessed right! Learnology!
In this shot, he gives me an ultimatum:
If you have read the previous chapter, you will know that a business plan was circulated to Sean. If you have read chapter 9, you will be aware that BS had no right to see the plan, as he had already resigned as a dickhead, I mean, director (sorry I keep making this Freudian slip). It looks as if the brownies had obviously poisoned BS again which resulted in a relapse of amnesia.
In this final shot he gives me a warning. A warning shot if you like:
Needless to say I stood my ground here and continued to advise BS that Learnology was not a competitive threat to OnlineGrinds.ie and that he had every opportunity to be part of it originally, but chose to turn down the opportunity. I also advised that his shooting down my ideas on how to further OnlineGrinds.ie on the basis of my starting Learnology was in effect preventing the course of progression of OnlineGrinds.ie.
Another Love Letter, this time from Everyone Shites
That weekend I decided to fuck off to Spain for a few days to lie on the beach, swim in the sea and spot some local talent. You might think that going away to Spain would free me of the BS of BS for a few days. But no, in Spain I still got bombarded with his eloquent emails, all relating to Learnology. In one of his emails, he decided to call an EGM (more amnesia, says you). I replied by saying that I would be delighted to attend the EGM, but if the subject of Learnology was brought up at the meeting, I would stand up from the table and walk straight out the door, allowing the team to pay for their own tea or coffee, as well as mine. In an effort to enjoy my few days away, rather than be tormented by BS, I chose to ignore the onslaught of emails that followed.
As the Ryanair flight was taxi-ing its way back to the terminal building on my arrival back to Dublin, I switched my phone on to check emails. One of the emails was from a large legal firm called Everyone Shites. Below is the gem of a letter that was attached to said email (click to enlarge):
When I received the Everyone Shites letter, I felt confused, frustrated and conflicted. I hadn’t a notion what to do. The feeling of indecision made me extremely vulnerable. I was weak. I needed help deciding my next move. But who was going to advise me on the options that lay ahead? There were just so many of them. If I chose the wrong one, I could regret it forevermore.
Each of the 10 or so options available to me had their fair share of both pros and cons. This didn’t make the decision any easier. I needed to evaluate all alternatives and create a shortlist of the 5 most suitable ones. The resulting frontrunners were as follows:
(a) Place the letter beside the toilet and leave it there for a rainy day when I ran out of toilet paper
(b) Fold the letter and use it to prop up a leg of my kitchen table – I HATE wonky tables!
(c) Try to disprove the theory that you can only fold something a maximum of 7 times
(d) Crunch up the letter and use it as a ball which would provide endless hours of fun and entertainment for my dog
(e) Create a paper airplane with the letter which I could throw down the garden for my dog to chase. Would it come back to me? Could I create the first boomerang paper airplane in the history of time and mankind?
After an extended period of painstaking vacillation, I came to the conclusion that the potential of option (e) was so vast that I could not but choose it. In hindsight I made the right decision. Both my dog and I had immeasurable fun that day.
Am I Bovered?
In all seriousness though, did I need to care about this letter? Not at all. You may have noticed that the letter was signed ‘Everyone Shites’ as opposed to an individual lawyer’s name. I later found out (I am very resourceful) that the letter was written by a lawyer in Everyone Shites who specialised in company law, not litigation. Company lawyers and litigators are two different breeds entirely. This letter should have come from a litigator. Something just didn’t tally. It was a bit like a medical doctor treating a dog. He would know a bit about general animal anatomy from having worked with humans (as our guy would know a bit about general law), but it certainly wouldn’t have been standard practice for him.
The gentleman who wrote this letter was probably the kind of man who would have been educated in Clongowes Wood College and wouldn’t have finally moved out of the family home until the age of 36, at the very least. He was most likely the type of guy who would wear tartan trousers on the golf course at the weekend, and would only have a glass of Guinness in the bar after the game, as he was driving. His first car was most probably a VW Golf. Going for after-work pints on a Thursday would have constituted living dangerously for this man. He probably lived in a comfortable, but by no means pretentious, negative-equity-submerged apartment in either Smithfield or the IFSC, with his girlfriend Jenny (who was training to be a GP), and their bichon frise Lola (who was groomed every other day). In other words, this was a nice, understated chap who worked as an ordinary, decent, company lawyer. Not by any manner or means was he a blood-thirsty, man-eating, Saul Goodman-esque kind of litigator.
There is a big difference between nice company lawyers and evil, fire-breathing litigators. Different kettle of fish altogether. Daniel O’Donnell or Francis Brennan would make perfect company lawyers. Mike Tyson or Jason Statham would make amazing litigators.
So, realising that the gentleman who had written the letter was from the Daniel O’Donnell School of Law, as opposed to the Law School of Saul Goodman, I didn’t have much to worry about. He was probably a friend of Sean’s and this was the only reason why he was momentarily dipping his (little) toe into the dark world of litigation. In fact, if you read his letter closely, you can get the feeling that he is completely outside of his comfort zone. For example, he keeps repeating the words “to the extent”. Surely he wasn’t repeating himself so much on purpose, and it obviously represented a nervous twitch in his writing? The man was clearly shaking at the time. But would you blame him?
The long and the short of it was that this letter amounted to nothing more than an idle threat. A threat which they thought would result in my ‘allowing them in’ to Learnology. I felt like the bouncer of a night club, and this letter was like a very poorly manufactured fake ID.
I guess you would think that I would be shocked to receive a letter like this. You might ask yourself how these fuckers could do such a thing, considering I had given them every opportunity to be involved in Learnology, and they had turned down my offer. And especially when BS had clearly indicated that his time was up, making it physically impossible to set up the traditional grind school under the umbrella of Stenson Institute Ltd. t/a OnlineGrinds.ie. If this is how you are feeling, I won’t stop you from feeling this way. However, please be aware that I am not imposing this feeling upon you, you are feeling it yourself.
Subtext of Letter
If you have a pair of eyes in your head that function normally, you will easily see that the subtext of this letter was “Okay, I know we said before that we didn’t want to be involved, but we now think that this could be a success, so please let us be involved and we promise we won’t sue you!”
As Sean wasn’t getting involved in the same dirty tactics as BS, I wrote him an email to see what his take on the whole situation was. Sean was always very neutral and indeed didn’t dismiss the possibility of even investing in Learnology. In actual fact, Sean agreed to carry out a Skype call with PWD of Learnology and I at one point to see how the venture was going, (with a view to potentially investing down the road).
Sean replied to my email asking me to meet him for a coffee. What he said to me at the meeting was consistent with what I believed to be the subtext of the letter. It was along the lines of, “you can proceed with Learnology in an unencumbered fashion, with no threat of legal action, as long as you let us be part of it”.
To be brutally honest, I got on very well with Sean and I was never against the idea of having him on board the team in Learnology. So, I arranged a meeting with Sean and the partners of Learnology to see if some sort of arrangement could be arrived at.
At the meeting, Sean reiterated that Learnology could proceed, with no threat of legal action, if he and the OnlineGrinds.ie team could be involved. He mentioned that he was aware of the communication issues I was having with BS, and advised that BS would be a silent partner in this new arrangement.
As you can imagine, I wasn’t entirely happy with the idea of having BS involved in Learnology, silent, loud or otherwise. I would have preferred to chew ultra-thin glass, walk across white hot-coals barefoot and have rusted barbed-wire shoved into my eyeballs than have him in the company. However, if I rarely saw him in OnlineGrinds.ie (where he was supposed to be hands-on, as opposed to silent) there was no way I would even get a glimpse of him in Learnology. If he spent all his time in San Francisco and Mexico up until now, you could be sure he would be in Jupiter or Mars from now on. All the same, I still wasn’t mad about the idea that he would receive dividends from the success of Learnology, for doing sweet fuck all. Regardless of how I felt however, there were three partners in the Learnology team. If PWD and MBB agreed to let Sean & Co. in, who was I to stop them.
Towards the end of the meeting, the partners in Learnology posed one question to Sean. It was along the lines of “So, what do you think of Learnology?” All Sean could reply with was “The website looks good”. He had no notion of the business other than the fact that the website looked ‘pretty’. Needless to say, the partners of Learnology felt that Sean’s motivation was misplaced, and that all he wanted was a return on the money he had put into OnlineGrinds.ie (which ended up in the Ballymun bonfire). As a result, bringing Sean & Co. on board was regrettably not a runner.
Next Chapter – Chapter 15: I Accept, We Don’t and The Stool Pigeon