Sometimes I lay in bed at night.
Unless you're Raymond Chandler, that's a bad way to start a post.
Nevertheless, sometimes I lay in bed at night.
I try to sleep but in the words of Shakespeare's "Macbeth," "Full of Scorpions is my mind."
I'll tell ya, arachnids, or whatever scorpions are, don't do much for a good night's sleep. They scratch and sting. And whatever power Melatonin possesses can be easily undone by that curvéd tale.
As I lay awake, I began counting.
Not sheep like some people do.
I began counting things much more twenty-first century. I began counting how many little LED lights were lit in my small bedroom. I counted around 15.
Reds. Greens. Oranges. Blues.
The light shining from my expensive Mitsubishi air-conditioning unit. The lights from three or four Mac devices. The lights from an alarm clock, an old internet radio, from a flat-screen TV I've never turned on. An alien blue glow from a round power strip.
All these lights.
In a space that should be dark.
I leapt from all those lights to another affect of modernity. Chimes, beeps and tones.
The trill when the dishwasher is done, the beep of the microwave, the crescendo of the dryer telling you your clothing is acceptably damp. The incessance of tones from various Apple devices telling you that someone somewhere wants you, probably a fat politician looking for a fat donation to fatten his campaign coffers so when he gets a job as a lobbyist, he is already fat.
And then came the nightmare portion of my insomnia. The Gary Vaynerchuk portion of the evening.
With 15 lights and myriad tones, we are living in the epicenter of always-on marketing.
The lights are always on.
The noise is always on.
They do nothing for your benefit.
They serve only to press your face and nose into the brand's ever-presence.
They deliver no value, or little value.
But you're supposed to value them just for being there.
In fact, they're the metaphor for our current age of marketing. They destroy the natural world. They destroy quiet. They destroy darkness, your old friend.
They essentially take away your right to "off-ness." To quiet and quietude. To repose and thinking. To the loudest noise around you being the turning of a paper page. Or the deep breathing of your golden retriever. Or maybe the roar of an angry sea from the ocean just twenty yards away.
We have allowed commerce into our veins, into our very marrow.
Into our lives.
Into our most sanctified Sanctum Sanctorum.
We are never alone.
We are never free from the sale of the century, the Raymour and Flanaganization of our lives.
Brands have become scorpions.
They sting and kill.
And we're supposed to let them and like it.