Wait what con artist from 2014
I’d like to title this story “Swing And A Miss”
Okay, so my high school had this program where seniors could leave school like a month and a half early and opt out of exams if they took on internships around the neighborhood, but not everyone wanted to/was eligible to do it. Back in like 2013, they had like 15 bored seniors stuck in the school, so the administration brought in this Professional Life Coach, left him in alone in a room with them for two hours to talk to them about like, self-esteem or some shit. All the kids were pulled out of their classes for this*, and later told the administration that they loved him, they really enjoyed the talk.
So, about a year later, we have a new principal. He’s supposed to set up an assembly for all the 11th and 12th graders, but he doesn’t know what to do. One of his coworkers mentions that there was a life coach that was a huge hit with the kids that didn’t do community study last year, so maybe he’d also be great for a larger audience. The principal basically thinks “okay, what the hell” and calls up and hires Jason C. Jean to come talk to the kids.
Now, it’s like, 10:30, maybe 11:00 in the morning, and two entire grades are getting shepherded to the main gymnasium, and no one wants to God damn be there. We ain’t got time for self esteem talks. We want to sleep. And this guy, watching us all drag our feet in and collapse into the bleachers was just like…offensively peppy. There’s a couple faculty members sitting behind him, the woman who suggested he be hired for this, the vice principals for the grades- but the principal himself kept getting calls so he was in and out the whole time.
Now, Mr. Jean was like…the chill “Just call me by my first name dude” history professor at college times 30. He was trying so fucking hard. I’m referring to him as ‘Mr. Jean’ in this story just to be disrespectful. So anyway, we all get in there, and he tells us right off the bat “You guys are totally allowed to be on your phones and laptops during this! I get it! It’s no problem, like really, I insist!” so while the faculty members are exchanging smiles that read ‘how do we kill that while respecting him’, all the kids are immediately pulling out their electronics and he’s starts his speech.
Now, again, I really wanna reiterate that he told us we could be on our phones- because when the news articles started coming out about this, I remember all these angry, annoying comments from old people like “Why the hell were the students on their phones in the first place! So disrespectful! These damn millennials and their social media!” like, they were completely ignoring the entire story and just focusing in on kids using the internet, and it Really Super Pissed Me Off, so. Again, we had permission for this (which also ended up being Mr. Jean’s fatal mistake).
So, he starts off this speech fairly normally, like ‘hi, I’m Jason, I’m a professional life coach and I wanna teach you kids about how to be The Best You!’ and like people were tuning him out and listening to varying degrees. Some kids (like myself) were kinda dozing off, and everyone was on twitter or facebook.
His approach to a self esteem speech seemed to be ‘let me tell you my entire life story for hours’ and like, at first I was like “I’m not really hearing this, I’m half dreaming right now” but the more I started making myself pay attention the more…bizarre and rambling his story got.
So like, for instance, he told us he drank a lot in high school. Like, a lot. But he didn’t use that as a ‘don’t drink or party too hard’ lesson, instead he was like “I was fourteen so I always called my parents to pick me up, and they weren’t mad because they knew it meant I could trust them. So remember, always tell your parents when you’re drinking!” and then it kinda got to a point where it sounded like he was encouraging partying and drinking and the like to the group of underage kids.
And then, he told us how he used to play baseball all the time when he was a kid, and at 16 reached a crossroads in his life where the Phillies wanted to draft him or he could go play football for Penn State. And he said he went with Penn State but later lost the scholarship for some reason and we’re like…really.
There was absolutely nothing coherent about anything he was saying- nothing that tied anything together, made a point, seemed like it had anything to do with an assembly on self esteem. He told us at one point he was making upwards of 7 million a year. He told us one time before college he was homeless. He told us he used to own a construction company and built his own branch of nightclubs himself, that he and his friend then ran. He told us he fought a shark and came out with no scars. He told us that he had less money now, because after surviving a work related accident- direct quote- “I fell almost 30 feet and I broke in half” - he decided to leave that industry and spend more time with his family.
So, yeah, I was pretty positive this was bullshit, but there were clearly kids in the room that were falling for it. But then he said something like…he and his friend got bored one day and started jarring up their own pasta sauce, and made a deal with wegmans or some store like that to start selling it, and now he has a pasta sauce empire. Like he spent 15 fucking minutes on this. The way he kept saying ‘pasta sauce’ was so annoying I was about to claw my ears out. But anyway, two girls in my grade wanted to find out what brand he was talking about, so they googled his name.
And then quietly gasped.
And then furiously started typing into their phones.
And remember- everyone, even though they were paying attention- was on twitter and facebook. All the sudden I see heads flying up and wide eyes and people whispering to each other. Mr. Jean doesn’t seem to notice the change and keeps rambling on, but I know something happened so I google him too and-
Okay so basically he’s 1) been arrested, 2) filed for bankruptcy like three times and 3) has been hailed as a ‘Swinger Guru’ by playboy.
EVERYONES SILENTLY FLIPPING OUT.
So by now, this is a fucking game- he still doesn’t notice anything wrong amongst the kids, so we’re all silently texting each other to fill each other in. Pulling up receipts. But still playing the part of politely intrigued audience members. The school faculty have no fucking idea what’s going on, until one of the students texts her mom, who happens to be the woman that convinced the principal to hire this guy. We see her check her phone, go wide-eyed, and she runs out of the fucking room presumably to either find the principal or hide in terror.
So Mr. Jean had been talking to random people intermittently throughout this speech, but we reach the ‘questions’ part of it. Everyone seems to silently agree that instead of just asking him anything outright, we should just see how good of a liar he was. So they’d be asking him stuff like ‘how much money did you make with ____ company’ and he’d give a ridiculously high number as people were sending each other reports of him filing for bankruptcy during that time. Or they asked him about his construction business which he said was great, and while he was talking about how great it was we were all reading his arrest report, from when a woman hired him to build her house, and he took her money and then like…just didn’t build anything. Wild. Someone asked him about his family and he’s extolling Christian virtues while we’re all on the website for his annual Swing Fest. People would ask him how he got certain jobs and he was making promises to hook kids up in interviews and shit. Everyone was loosing their God damn minds online and just barely holding it together in person. This man was so beyond full of shit- like, he was a God awful life coach but his dedication to lying was inspirational.
We eventually get to leave and everyone is yelling and cracking up and freaking out, all running to our classes to tell the teachers and the underclassmen everything, and the teachers are freaking out, alternating between horrified confusion and laughing hysterically. Before the school day even ended, someone had called a bunch of news stations. The principal was freaking out and denying he had anything to do with it, before calling some students to his office to see what exactly the kids had searched up on the guy…Because apparently teenagers can perform better background checks than school officials. It was all anyone could talk about for weeks.
A couple months after this, for my theater class’ showcase, I wrote and directed a skit called ‘Mason B. Mean’. It was a huge hit. The principal was in the audience. I’ve never seen a grown man look so dead inside. I made sure I was out of the room before he came up to congratulate the cast and everything. The next day, my theater teacher told me his only comment about the skit was a quiet, long-suffering “Why.” 😂😂
Annnnnnnnd that’s the time a Swinger Entrepreneur rambled on about pasta sauce and money in front of teenagers who knew how to use google for almost two hours.