Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

Years and years ago, when IBM selectrics roamed the earth and lowly copywriters had secretaries, there was one, Marilyn, who sat outside of my office who was resolutely lazy--assertively lazy. Asking her to type over a piece of copy was akin to asking a fat man to swim the English Channel. She regarded work as if it were life-threatening.

There were four or six of us who Marilyn was supposed to work for. My bosses, two ACDs, a middleweight team and me and my partner, the juniors in the mix. Finally, we came to realize that one reason behind Marilyn's indolence was that she hid a small black-and-white television in one of her desk drawers and would spend most of the afternoon watching soap operas.

To Marilyn, soap operas were way more important than booking our travel, doing our expenses or typing over our copy. If you asked for help in the afternoon, you were pretty much shit out of luck.

One day my boss, Harold, had had enough. He went over to Marilyn as she was watching her portable and asked her, "What soap opera are you watching, Marilyn? "One Job to Lose"?

I'd like to say Marilyn improved after that or that she was fired. But all that happened was we were handed a good laugh and started typing our own work.


Anonymous said...

IBM Selectrics? Good God George, that's positively archival! Draper must be smiling in tv land.

George "AdScam" Parker said...

Selectrics? My God you were bloody lucky. All we had was a clay tablet and a pointed stick... Shades of Monty Python.

george tannenbaum said...

The Selectric was a helluva machine. As a "writer's writer," I actually had two type balls, one in 12 pt. and one in 10 pt. That irked the shit out of art-directors.