Thursday, February 2, 2023

How's Your Ass?

During World War II, there was an American Army Air Force General called Curtis Lemay. His name is infamous now because he was chosen by segregationist racist George Wallace to be Wallace's running mate in the presidential election of 1968.

Wallace and Lemay won five states in that election, and nearly ten-million popular votes, against about 31-million votes for Nixon and Humphrey each.

Lemay was also said to have been the model of nuke-crazy General Buck Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's classic "Dr. Strangelove." He was the one, I think, who threatened to bomb the North Vietnamese back "to the Stone Age."

However, when Lemay was leading the American bombing offensive against the Empire of Japan in World War II, he was considered a hero. To find proper bomb locations, Lemay would pore over enlargements of reconnaissance photos of various Japanese cities and industrial outlets. 

Lemay's men noticed that Lemay would spend hours at a time looking at these photos without leaving his seat. That proclivity earned him the sobriquet, "Old Iron Ass."

I am not an admirer of Lemay.

I am an admirer of Old Iron Ass.

In fact, gluteal composition notwithstanding, I am something of an iron ass myself, and my career and bank account is better for it.

Back about a decade ago I was freelancing at an agency that was trying to hold onto a major account. They had created three manifesto films explaining each campaign platform, and they brought me in one evening to write ads for one of the platforms.

I wrote ten ads. Copy and all. 
Then I wrote ten more.
Then I wrote ten more.
Then I wrote ten more.
I wound up writing ads for all of three of the platforms.

The guys running the pitch were the martyr types. They had too much guilt to go home before 1AM. But I was writing ads so fast, I think I scared them. One of them said to me, "You're writing ads faster than I can read them."

Right now I'm about three-quarters through one of the gnarlier assignments of my long abeyance of unemployment. I won't say who what or even where. I will say, it's a mother fucking bear. I will also say, the pages I have to rewrite--to humanize--stretch into the hundreds. Like I said, a bear. A grizzly one.

This is, in the parlance of Chinese Communism, a long march. And it's all due long before March.

So I sit. I turn off the world. I iron up my ass. And I type. I get through one bit and I turn the page and write another. For hours at a time. 

There's very little applause that comes to those who work at the writer's trade. While there might be a soup├žon of acclaim that accrues to those who are working on various Super Bowl spots, there's nothing that goes to the people who load sixteen tons. They merely get another day older and deeper in debt.

It ain't any fun being Old Iron Ass. 

But it pays the bills.

Besides, someone has to do it.

No comments: