Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Loving the business. And hating it. (This is a long one.)

Yesterday I completed one more circle around the sun.

A high-falutin' way of saying it was my birthday.

As is today's custom (o tempore, o mores!) I received a ton of little birthday wishes on Facebook.

It wouldn't be a birthday if you didn't get little innocuous notes from people you love along with little innocuous notes from "friends" you barely know.

Thank you.

Around four o'clock, I got an unexpected note.

It was from my first ECD--the guy who hired me into my first agency job.

It wasn't the typically glib and mildly whimsical kind of thing we write.

It was deep and thoughtful.

My ECD, I'll disguise his identity by calling him Fred, got out of the business.

He had been a very successful copywriter who had become miserable now that he had been promoted to the point where he could no longer create.

So at night, on weekends, whenever he could amid the crush of careerhood, fatherhood and neighborhood, he wrote.

He wrote some plays.

He wrote some movies.

Some novels.

Some TV shows.

He was in his early 40s but he pictured himself in his 60s.

He didn't want to be lugging a heart attack into a skyscraper and pouring blue liquid into a maxi-pad.

He wanted to live up in the country.

And write.

The business no longer accommodated his love of writing.

And it didn't permit a modified Thoreau-like lifestyle.

You know, long walks in the woods with a black lab.

Fred said he'd been reading my blog and he'd come to the conclusion that I hate advertising more than I love it.

That I was living a dream I had as a 27-year-old, to work in advertising.

But that dream hadn't kept up with who I was today.

Nor had the industry.

It was pretty mind-fucking stuff. I mean that in a good way, though it did disturb my sleep.

There are days in the business where I'm given a steaming pile of shit and four hours of time.

I have to figure out what to do with it all.

I have to make it work. Sell it to a client. Make it good.

There's joy in that. The same joy, I suppose, a carpenter feels when he makes a perfect dovetail.

Craft. Pride. Integrity.

There are other days when I scribble little numbers in my notebook.

How much I've saved. What my apartment's worth. How much social security I've earned.

Do I have enough?

And if I do, what do I do all day?

I can only take Whiskey for so many walks.

I love to write.

Outside of being a dad, it's probably the only thing I'm good at. Or halfway good.

My friend Rich thinks I have a few books inside me.

My ex-ECD Fred thinks so too.

My wife thinks so.

My therapist wants me to write something important.

Three days out of seven, I like what I do.

And certainly money is important.

Is it greedy to want to be happy every day?

Is it even possible?

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