Friday, February 26, 2016

OK, it's Friday.

I got home relatively late last night and almost immediately, just after I kissed my ever-understanding wife and ever-welcoming puppy, an insidious chime emanated from my cell-phone, reminding me that a conference call was beckoning.

Dante has been dead for nearly 700 years, but had he been alive in our times, he would have found a circle in hell for the worst sinners that surrounded them with bad hold music and bad manners.

"Who just joined?" is how they usually start, as if, perhaps, Elvis is coming back and making an appearance.

"Is Joshua on? Should we wait for Joshua?"

"Who just joined?"

"Let's start without Joshua."

"Who just joined?"

"This is Joshua."

"You're breaking up."

"Could you move closer to the speaker?"

"Who just joined?"

Such banter usually takes up about fifteen of the allotted 30 minutes, which more often than not means your call goes over.

"I have a hard stop," says someone, usually someone who has nothing else to say.

"You're breaking up."

"Who just joined?"

Maybe the toughest part about being the oldest one in the agency, is that you don't feel a sense of doom and inclemency that seems to infect most everyone around you. You've been in dire situations before, you've faced horrid deadlines, you've stared down the end of the world.

Not long ago I read a book by a neuro-surgeon (not Ben Carson) from the UK called Henry Marsh. The book was titled "Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery."

Marsh is a damn good writer. Like me, he's constitutionally an outsider and a cynic and he takes his job very seriously. Of course, even the best brain-surgeon loses patients. Sometimes there's nothing you can do to save someone--you got there too late. Sometimes you give into pressure and have a younger doctor do something and under your aegis, he screws up. Sometimes, of course, you yourself screw up.

This is life.

It's life in relationships. Raising kids. And raising ads.

All you can really do is try to have perspective.

Sometimes your kid spills milk and it gets everywhere.

You can't scream. You can't hit. You can't take your own fucking life.

Clean it up. It's not that big a deal.

And whatever you do, don't have a conference call about it.

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