God, I love this blog.
I’m sitting here in the midst of four crushing deadlines, with projects tumbling around me like the walls of Jericho and a plumbing problem in the kitchen that’s warping the floorboards… and I notice a new comment on the last entry.
“Steve” from the UK wants to know why “most American copywriting guru’s are bad tempered, stroppy and miserable. Is it because of your ages?”
He’s worried, he says, because he’s about to turn 48.
Well, here’s my answer:
First, what the hell does ‚Äústroppy‚Äù mean? Should I be insulted?
He’s right, though (more or less) about the bad tempered thing.
But we have an excuse. If we come across as gruff and irritable sometimes, it‚Äôs mostly because teaching requires the kind of patience we never received ourselves, coming up the ranks. I‚Äôve had mentors throw manuscripts back at me… I‚Äôve had yelling matches with pig-headed clients who thought they knew better (they didn‚Äôt)… and while I‚Äôve never missed a deadline, I have encountered nightmarish ‚Äúreal world‚Äù problems with projects where patience had no place.
When I talk about the “front line trenches of advertising”, it’s not just a metaphor.
With printing presses starting to roll, hard drives crash-diving with your files onboard (a-ooga, a-ooga), people flaking out right and left, and more money on the line than you’ve got in the bank… well, anybody standing around calm and relaxed just doesn’t quite grasp the reality of the situation.
Veteran ad honchos have usually had the idealism knocked out of them long ago.
Still, as teachers, it‚Äôs our job to be patient. Even if we have to grit our teeth doing it. The fact we‚Äôre often helping clueless twenty-somethings get filthy rich with shortcuts we never enjoyed ourselves might contribute to our general attitude, however.
Behind the scenes, my friends Halbert and Kennedy are loose and hilarious. Though we do enjoy a harder-edged, ‚ÄúM*A*S*H‚Äù-style sense of humor that can shock the uninitiated. We‚Äôd go crazy if we took this job too seriously.
Gotta go. The plumber’s on overtime, and making me nervous the way he’s frowning at the wall behind the fridge…
P.S. to “Steve”: Don‚Äôt sweat 48. It‚Äôs fifty that‚Äôll kill you.
Party on, dude.
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