Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Adam and Eve.

My ex-boss Steve, the former CCO at Ogilvy, and I had breakfast the other day. Though we were both turned out on our respective ears at, for advertising, ripe old ages, we're each busier than we ever were during our very busy careers. 

Neither of us went out looking for accounts when we became independentized. And maybe that's the secret to finding them. Before long we were each as busy as a one-armed hitch-hiker.

Busy as we are, it takes us about six months of texting and calling and emailing to actually find the time to sit together in a vinyl booth in a crummy coffee shop along one of those ugly strips of America where virtually every store is a chain store. It's fair to add here that neither of us are very good at making plans. And we're each painfully shy. So we're not much good at getting together, though we enjoy ourselves when we do. Much as we try not to.

I suppose you could say, like Thomas Hardy might have, that we're now far from the madding crowd. Steve lives about forty miles out of the city and I live about fifty miles north of him. We meet equidistant. Just off of exit 41 on Rt. 95, in a town called Orange, CT. The main tourist attraction of the place, which broke off from neighboring Milford in 1822 is the Pez factory and the Pez Visitor Center.

All we are saying, is give Pez a chance.

According to their website, the visitor center is over 4,000 square feet dedicated to all things Pez--that's roughly 80-feet by 50-feet, if anyone's counting. About the side of now-empty holding-company-agency creative departments.

The Pez Visitor Center is said to have the most extensive display of Pez memorabilia on public display in the world. That includes the world's largest Pez dispenser and a Pez motorcycle built by Orange County Choppers in California.

Steve and I have never, even for a scintilla of a moment, had the slightest interest in visiting the Pez Visitor Center. We're both pretty fervid about our over-easys and our jamoke and our lives beyond the fleshpots of Madison Avenue. Steve is also following his out-of-advertising passion and getting yet another degree, this one online from the University of Chicago, in English Literature.

Me, like Tom Joad, I'm just trying to get by without shovin' nobody, that's all.

So, our conversation stayed mostly on the books we're reading. The joy of having a moment or two every week to read a little Yeats or Proust, like Steve does or the giant histories I gravitate toward. We also talk about our youth. Games we played. Players we admired. And because there is today a renewed interest in the old African-American players who were barely allowed to play with white people, the history and the remembering of the never-known greats of yesteryear.


Crispus Attucks High School’s basketball team, including Oscar Robertson, second from left, celebrate their 1954 regional title by hoisting their coach, Ray Crowe, on their shoulders. PHOTO: THEINDIANAPOLIS STAR/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Coincidentally, when I got back to my unramshackled cottage up the coast, The Wall Street Journal serendipitously--uncannily, maybe--just reviewed this new book. Steve, a Hoosier himself, had been talking about the Crispus Attucks' team, their legendary coach, Ray Crowe, just moments earlier. Crowe's brother, George was one of the first African-Americans to play for the Boston Braves--after a successful career in the Negro Leagues. He was also an All-American basketball player and played basketball professionally, as well.

No real point today.

Just two old admen telling stories.

What could be better?

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