Of the hundreds or thousands of words destroyed by the marketing industry in its never-ending quests for complication and obfuscation, one of the ones I'm saddest about having lost is "journey."
As in customer journey.
Oh, come the fuck on.
There are millions of people fleeing Ukraine right now. They're on a journey. Millions of non-taxed rich people sunning in Anguilla. They're on a journey. Even a scratch-the-dust minor league ballplayer trying to have a cuppa coffee in the Big Leagues is on a journey.
The melodramaticness of our industry's misappropriation of this word angers me. Almost as much as calling a marketer or an agency brave or courageous. When there are real brave and courageous people in the world. Zelensky. Stacy Abrahms. Odysseus.
But today I'm talking about my journey.
Beaten as a boy.
And when not beaten, neglected and isolated.
Beaten into a lack of belief in myself.
Which 45 years of therapy, 45 years of introspection, 45 years of understanding friends and a supremely understanding wife and 35 years of trying to be better for my own children, have helped.
No tears here. No search for sympathy.
Just a recognition, that we are all on journeys of magnitude and importance. Most of them, as they should be, relatively quiet and solo struggles fought in rain and silence. Getting knocked on your keister and having no strength left and no reason to stand again. Yet.
Imagine losing a wife as a friend did recently.
Or a husband, as another friend did recently.
Imagine losing your younger sister as I did 16 years ago.
Imagine losing your oldest friend, as I did recently.
Those are journeys and battles and barriers and fear and sadness. Those involve arduousness to find--if at all possible--once again, some sense of equilibrium. You wonder if the earth will, for you, ever stop quaking. Or if you'll be as lost tectonically as Atlantis and never to be unlost.
We're all on journeys.
Part of putting diversity, equity and inclusion at the center of things is understanding the depth and the ugliness of so many journeys for so many people.
To pay the mortgage.
To keep a job we hate and that hates us because we have a mortgage, medical bills and kids' college tuition.
That's a journey.
And there are billions of them that all of us, every day, struggle through in our own personal Pilgrim's Progress.
I want us Earthlings to reclaim our language--the most precious gift we've been given or that we've found--from the alien bots and professional thinkerizers--who have stolen it away and who treat it, in captivity, with the brutality of a Torquemada.
We are all on journeys.
Silent, private, killing affairs.
We are all on journeys.
And none of them are for a mayonnaise that while it's low-in-fat actually makes every sandwich taste better.
Too trippy for me.