Best Self-Promoter: A sensible way to get close to death
Neal Smither is in the business of cleaning places where bad things have happened. As he has told numerous media outlets over the years, including This American Life and Insomniac with Dave Attell, he thought to get into this line of work after watching Pulp Fiction -- specifically, the Harvey Keitel character. You know, the guy who scrubs out the brains from the car. Smither, who has been running Crime Scene Cleaners for more than ten years, doesn't do too much cleaning of his own these days. He has staff for that. Mostly, he's in the office, running the business -- which, he is quick to say, is the largest of its kind in the country. In addition to selling franchises in about twenty states, Smither has secured contracts with several area police departments to clean up after their messier interactions with the public. At least one jealous competitor, whom Smither routinely underbids on such jobs, has accused him of unsanitary disposal methods. This has done nothing to throw Smither off his game. "That's why they all hate my guts," he says of his rivals. "Because I take all the work."