Friday, May 19, 2017

A long long week.

Man-o, man-o-shevitz, as the old radio spots for Manishewitz kosher wine used to declare. It's been a week from the 17th, or 29th ring of hell, or to whatever subterranean depths Dante, led by Virgil, descended.

About 30 or 40 of us have stayed late every night for about two weeks running to get a raft, no, not a raft, more like an air-craft-carrier's worth of work shot, writ, designed, approved, re-approved, re-re-approved and finally out the door.

Often on Facebook, friends of mine will post pictures of a woodworking project they are working on. Or the picture of a 30-year-old Porsche with its engine removed. One of my friends built a wooden dory--the sort you'd see in Victor Flemings' 1937 classic "Captains Courageous." Sleek, well-made, finely crafted.

I can't do anything like that. In fact, there's a drawer handle in our spanking new and obscenely expensive kitchen that I can't seem to re-attach correctly.

My craft, I'm lucky here, is my profession. It's making ads where, I hope, every word and image count and work together to influence and persuade.

There is, and there always will be, at least two types of people in the world, and in our business. The predominant ones seem, to me, to be theorists. They can talk at a macro-level about the exigencies of agency models, the modern vicissitudes of the world, the changing nature of the landscape and the fickle whims and caprices of human nature. These are the generals who move small pieces around giant maps in theoretical battles against real or theoretical enemies. Then there are the troops--the men and women those pieces represent. 

On the ground, building a boat or a dining room table, replacing an automobile engine or making ads, you don't really have the luxury of theory. Castles in the air seldom sell anything but castles in the air.

You have to make things work. You have to do it.

I know I'm coming to the end of my time in the business. Not next week, or even next year. But every day, I feel more and more an anachronism because I focus more on dove-tailing pieces of wood beautifully together than on either the propagation of my personal brand or the winning of awards of, to me, spurious import. I don't want to go to Cannes. I want to write copy.

Couple that with my voluble personality and soon, I suppose, someone "upstairs" will say, what the fuck is that loud, old trouble-maker still doing here?

That's ok.

I'll go out, I hope, fountain pen in hand, writing a headline, or a making a muddle of complicated crap simple, or ragging a bit of copy so it looks right to the eye.

I'll go out, I hope, like Ted Williams. Though I'm no Ted Williams. A home run in his last at bat.

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