I was told by Uncle Slappy, literally eons ago, that I should touch wood and count my blessings when good fortune smiles at me. Especially since despite the global pandemic, ten percent unemployment, a government run by pissant thieves and the mostly self-inflicted destruction of the ad industry, I am busy.
Touch wood, I am very busy.
In the words of Uncle Slappy, "I'm as busy as a carving knife at the bris of triplets."
That's right, Uncle Slappy.
Many years ago, the great Sally Hogshead explained to me that as you go through life in advertising, you have three things.
1. You have your body of work.
2. You have your reputation, and
3. You have your network.
Since I was tossed out of Ogilvy on my not-inconsiderable obliquity at the hoary age of 62, I have been testing the accuracy of Sally’s thesis.
There are times, I’ll admit when you spend the wee hours staring at the ceiling and wondering if it’s closing in on you. There are times when you wash your face to hide the redness of your eyes. There are times when you might recall the melancholy words of the American poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, who wrote some of the saddest words in all of poetry, American or otherwise:
For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’
Yeah, that’s right.
You wonder if you're a has-been, a never-was or a might-have-been. You wonder if you’ll ever have two dimes to rub together again. Or if you’ll ever again type for money.
About a couple weeks ago, I wrote an ad for my business, GeorgeCo, A Delaware Company.
My wife shot me that look only your wife of 36 years can shoot you. You know, that 'you're a frikken idiot look.' I know it well.
“You’re working 19 hours a day,” she glared. “Why are you running ads?”
“It’s like Apple,” I answered, “Or hot a New York restaurant. (I assumed she would remember both restaurants and New York.) “You run ads when you’re busy. Busy begets busier. Busier begets good.”
And so I wrote a few ads and ran them on my social media accounts. Before I knew it, Cindy Gallop reposted them and they were getting about 80,000 views each, my site was getting 20,000 views a month and I was getting ten or fourteen new business calls a week. Usually two or five of those translate into revenue. I think that’s pretty good.
If life in the fringe years of the Dark Ages 2.0 has taught me anything, it’s this: you can’t count on anything. The job you thought you’d have for the rest of your life can vanish like your fist when you open up your hand.
In other words there’s nothing you can really count on except that there’s nothing you can really count on.
I have what I have.
My book. My reputation. My network. And I can write some good ads.
And I have some friends ad acquaintances who are there occasionally when I need a jump start.
Touch wood, Uncle Slappy. Touch wood.