A Client Who Was Too Clever For His Own Good

Even an attorney of moderate talent can postpone doomsday year after year, for the system of appeals that pervades American jurisprudence amounts to a legalistic wheel of fortune, a game of chance, somewhat fixed in favor of the criminal, that the participants play interminably.”    Truman Capote

Athena types are the best negotiators of all twelve basic archetypes. They strive for balance, idolize harmony, dread discord, and are often indecisive as a result. They usually get their way, even when they’re being aggressive, indirect, or imprecise. They wield tact and diplomacy like a Samurai swordsman, even though they’d prefer to be frank and direct. They’re idealistic, romantic, and refined in appearance. Aesthetics are important to them. Dressed in chic designer clothing, they’ll take clients out to trendy restaurants. You’ll rarely catch sight of them in a greasy spoon. Their dark side sometimes treads the thin line between honesty and ethics. Maybe they know something important that could kill a deal, but fail to mention it. Unscrupulous lawyers who are Athena types can bend any law to serve their clients best interests. Legal, political, publishing, marketing, public relations, higher education, and entertainment fields are bursting at the seams with Athena types.

One day many years ago, a powerful Athena type came to me for a reading. I’ll call him Athen in honor of Athena. I greeted Athen in my t-shirt and jeans. He was dressed in an expensive designer suit and tie. Athen was an expert creator of business plans and a major player in money markets. He was in a league with Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky. Athen seemed totally out of place consulting a palmist in an east village tenement apartment. He called because of a glowing referral from a friend of his who had attended one of my hand reading lectures.

Athen’s modus operandi was to find floundering companies and create compelling new products or services for them. In exchange for writing a first class business plan, Athen would receive a nominal fee and substantial stock options. The company would soon appear to be a fabulous investment opportunity. Athen would help them peddle enough preferred non-voting stock to begin implementing his new concepts. As his business plans took form, the company’s stock would become more valuable. Unless there was a substantial retainer, however, Athen wouldn’t stick around to implement his concepts and help navigate management through the churning rapids of dramatic changes taking place within the company structure. Instead, Athen would sell off large chunks of his stock and then in a twinkle, he was on to the next concept and project. Several of the companies that Athen attempted to revive ultimately failed, but Athen always prospered.

Athen explained that he was embroiled in a mid-eight-figure fiasco concerning securities fraud. The IRS was the monkey on his back and he needed strategies for the best ways to proceed. Even though Athen and I resided in totally different worlds, we immediately hit it off. Cultivated thinking types can bounce ideas off of each other for hours. Our bond was archetypal from the get go. Athen was Pinocchio and I was Jiminy Cricket. Like Pinocchio, Athen was smart but surprisingly naïve. Jiminy appeared because Pinocchio lacked a conscience. It’s common in business to be legal and unethical or immoral at the same time. If Athen were to put his nose in the wrong place, it might grow and get chopped off, and that’s exactly what was happening. Athen offered me a financial retainer to be his “Jiminy Cricket”. I declined Athen’s offer, but accepted payments and gifts from him in exchange for my time and advice. I used astrology to examine Athen’s timing and patterns. Tarot cards were employed to gain better insight into specific relationships.

AthenAthen’s square palm and long fingers symbolize a thinking type. He has a long unobstructed straight headline and a long straight and strong pinkie finger. The long bottom phalange is great for commerce. Athen was inherently an honest and caring person. He was ambitious (strong index finger) and hardworking, but blinded by his desire and need for power, wealth, and freedom. You can see from the separation between his head and life lines that Athen doesn’t lack initiative. He also doesn’t really care much what most others think of him. I decided that the best way to communicate with Athen was to be direct and make practical good sense. Communicating with Athen was like playing a game of mental monopoly. His long graceful heart line extends to his index finger and represents a romantic and sentimental feeling nature. You can see from the vertical lines in the ball of his thumb that Athen is deeply committed to his family and friends. I tried appealing to his inherently compassionate nature. Does the world really need another greasy french fry, addictive alcoholic beverage, or violent virtual video game? Couldn’t the same time, resources, and effort be used to make healthier products and services? I’d ask, “Why can’t your products be more expensive so as to exploit less unfortunate people along the way?” I encouraged Athen to design and promote healthy sensible products (like Paul Newman) and give as much of the profit as possible to specific charitable causes. Athen said he loved that idea, but rationalized how he needed to be more financially substantial before giving money away. I disagreed.

“More expensive, more grease”, Athen would say. More cost means more time and money spent romanticizing and glamorizing a product or service. He explained that selling less and making more money is a great idea, but not easy or cheap. Why do consumers pay so much more for caffeine at $tar- Bucks?  What makes a person buy an expensive designer brand name when they can get the same exact generic item for less? According to Athen, “It’s the grease”.

Sometimes a revolutionary new idea, product, or service is created and protected. Some products miraculously become generic and incredibly profitable. Most new products and services are fashionable variations on existing themes. Athen offered brilliant business strategies for projects that seemed likely to happen if well executed. It was easy to see who would benefit from Athen’s plans and who wouldn’t.

Cream always rises to the top. That’s where Athen resided, but every scheme where someone is making heaps of money means others are being deceived or exploited. Unfortunately, at the bottom of every barrel are poor people scraping for pennies. Laws that protect masses of ordinary people are created long after the reason for them has been abused. It’s no secret that Philip Morris has always known that cigarette smoking was unhealthy. They used the same legal system that Truman Capote talks about at the start of this story to shirk their responsibilities and justify their actions.

Jiminy Cricket guided Pinocchio who eventually found truth and became a “real boy”.  Athen and I weren’t so lucky. Athen ended up losing everything, but in typical Athen style, he started over with fresh ideas, enthusiasm, and a dollop of grease.  He’s still wheeling and dealing. Pinocchio and Jiminy keep in touch, but no longer collaborate.