If I had a dime for every unsolicited note I've received since I was rendered superfluous from Ogilvy, I'd make Warren Buffet look like Oliver Twist.
Since my long, slow, steady descent into the tar-pits of dinosaured demise, I've been literally getting twenty notes a week from people I don't even know. Most of those notes, I'm chagrined to admit, are complimentary.
People call me a "legend." (Being called a legend is great until it happens to you.) Others tell me they love my work. Still others tell me how they'd love to take classes with me.
It's all very flattering. But as someone who doesn't pick up the phone if he thinks someone on the other end is waiting to heap praise on him, I don't quite know how to reckon with the acclaim.
First of all, and touch wood, I'm busy. That means I can't handle all the requests I get. And that's where I feel bad.
I know I'm one of the lucky ones. For forty years I made my way through advertising's dank alimentary tract--and while I got squirted out ignominiously, I did emerge, basically, with all my faculties intact. If a little rank.
What's more, while I have slow days or slow afternoons, I've yet to have a slow week or--again touch wood--a slow month. As much as I'd like to dedicate my time to the betterment of the industry, and to help all the people I can along the way, the fiduciary needs of my shtetl upbringing force me to make money. Cogito ergo Cash, or something like that.
In fact, since I am busy, and busy--to be clear--preparing for my posterity, I have yet to even do the work I want to be able to do.
I have started my "book," (one of 15 I have in me) two-hundred times or three hundred, and haven't gotten past my first outburst of post-natal anger yet. Besides one good description of where I come from that's buried deep inside some of my 92-thousand baseball stories, I am not happy with anything I've ever writ--except maybe a children's book I once wrote on quantum computing that I couldn't even get out of the agency--it frightened people smaller than I.
So this is all by way of apology.
To paraphrase Groucho Marx's patter from his old game-show, "You Bet Your Life," "Well, you're a lovely person, and I'd love to go on talking to you but it's time to play You Run Your Life."In other words, I'd love to sit with you all, and shoot the shit and review portfolios and help you launch your business. But I've got bills to pay, and like Robert Frost's old man, "Miles to go before I sleep." And by the way, the sleep I mean ain't an 11PM to 5AM tick tock. It's what Rich Siegel calls "The Great Dirt Nap."
I'm a legend remember? And I'm not buying the line from Douglas MacArthur--that we fade away; No. We do, in fact, die. Silent and alone and unmourned.
Like I said, I'm sorry. Sorry I can't be as giving as I wish I could be.
But, maybe you can do something for me. If you know of a Maxwell Perkins to my Thomas Wolfe, send them my way. If you know of a Swifty Lazar, or a Clark Clifford, send them my way.
I have a lovely person and a dear friend helping me manage my business but she's busy too.
And we could both use a hand.