While looking over our company website the other day I noticed that one of my colleagues posted a blog; unbeknownst to me, I was the subject of that blog.
Now before I go on, I guess I should mention my name is Erin (the in-house copywriter at Wide Eyed Communications) and the blog in question read something to the effect that, “I was bugging her”…. again (that “her” by the way is none other than our talented and lovely Shara, official title: Lead Graphic Designer). I can only surmise that by writing that blog Shara felt that she and I shared something special – slings and arrows aside, I know what she really wanted to say was that she likes when I bug her and in some weird way it makes her feel special; really special! Now at the risk of breaking the poor woman’s heart I’ve gotta come clean and let her know that when it comes to bugging people I don’t have any favorites. Short, fat, beautiful or tall, you can count on me to bug them all (my cheesy stab at a poetic motto). As the champion bugger in our office …(is that really the title I want to be saddle with? For fans of old English that title just might conjure up implications of behavior that may have at one time been punishable by law; so for the sake of keeping this blog PG, I’ll have to at some point rethink the title). In an effort to keep this story moving along I’ll simply refer to myself for now as the go to guy when it comes to bugging the hard working people in our office.
If I may speak candidly for a moment and run the risk of exposing my vulnerable side, in all honesty when it comes to dealing with my colleagues my intention is really not to bug them at all – perhaps it’s my approach or perhaps it’s just the unfiltered stuff that comes out of my mouth (frankly I’ll save that analysis for my next session at the therapist), but whatever it may be I often leave my colleagues in a bewildered state and have them scratching their heads wondering where in the world our conversations are going. Admittedly, I myself often have no idea what course any given conversation may take but there’s one thing of which I am certain – many of the conversations with my colleagues serve as mini brainstorming sessions that provide fuel and inspiration for my writing. Exactly how I am really not certain, but more often than not their thoughts, ideas and different perspective on life – time and time again – manage to weave their way into the web of my writing. Sound strange? Perhaps. But I wouldn’t be the first guy to say inspiration is everywhere and at the end of the day my colleagues provide me with a great deal of food for thought.
Case in point: Recently I’ve been working on some copy for a new, soon to be released, all natural popcorn product and I’ve been stuck for ideas. After hours of bouncing balls off walls, sharpening all my HB pencils and staring at a stark white blank word doc, I decided to make a tour of the office.
My first victim was Debby our Office Manager (affectionately known as Roxanne – despite the sexy handle she’s as sharp as a whip and nothing gets past her when it comes to keeping projects on track).
“Hey Roxanne what’s up?” I asked in a cheerful voice as I fumbled with an old baseball bat that I had found lying around the office.
She looked at me, and to the bat, and at me again with her signature, “I am busy look” and stuck her head back into her work. Moments later she adjusted the position of the mini fan on her desk and pointed it in my direction. Now anyone in his or her right mind would take that as a hint that she was trying to blow me off, but not I. I just saw it as an opportunity to go on.
“You know Roxanne, In Korea there is a superstition that leaving a fan on in a closed room will suffocate the occupants.”
“In that case you might not wanna close the door on your way out.” Another hint perhaps, but I simply interpreted it as a sign that we were engaged and I pressed on.
“So what you working on?” I asked.
“Secret.” she said.
“Oh every one loves a secret. Do tell.”
“If I told you it would no longer be a secret, right?”
While inclined to let her in on what I thought was the ultimate top ten list of declassified secrets, I let it go by simply uttering, “You got me there Roxy.” and then turned my attention to Mike (our in-house super-smart Web Design guy who I like to call Mr. Info).
Walking over to his desk I gave him an upbeat, “Yo yo, Mr. Info. What do you know?”
“What you working on?”
“Just checking out some MENSA website.”
“Dude, gotta warn you not to be spending too much time with those intellectual types. You know there’s a correlation between genius and high rates of suicide. What kind of stuff you reading ‘bout?”
“Nothing special just a bunch of intellectual type guys talking about blah blah blah…”
“You know there’s a fine line between genius and madness Mr. Info – I suggest you tread softly there pal. Speaking of Mensa, here’s a Mensa type question for you. You ready?
Grudgingly he acquiesced, “One question Erin and you’re outta here.”
“Ok here’s how it works: Say silk 5 times really fast.”
“Silk, silk, silk, silk silk.”
“Now spell silk.”
“S.. I.. L.. K”
“What do cows drink?”
“Ha! Got you. Cows drink water.”
“Perhaps…but not baby cows. Baby cows love milk.”
“Wow Mike, now that’s deep… don’t I now feel like the ignoranus in the room.”
“I think the word you’re looking for Erin is ignoramus.”
“No I was going for ignoranus: The kind of guy who is both stupid and an asshole!”
“Think we’re just about done here Erin. Wouldn’t ya say?”
“Loud and clear partner; I’ll just be moseying on.” And so I turned my attention to Shara – you’ll remember her, our talented Head Graphic Designer with an eye for images, all things art related and of course the one who started this whole personal blog thing.
“Hey Shara how’s it hanging?”
“It’s hanging. What’s up Erin? Got the bug thing going on do ya?”
“Who me? Nah…Just checking in to see what you’re working on that’s all.”
“Mountains… looking for some big sexy mountain shots for the outdoor magazine gig. Check out these images; what do you think?”
“Wow, aren’t they something. You know Shara, they say there are as many as 120 dead bodies still remaining on Mount Everest.”
“Yuuuuck…that’s a joy kill, Erin – is that the best you got? Stuff like that does little to inspire people to scale mountains let alone inspire me to move forward with my search.”
“Now, now Shara, let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill here. Let’s see what else I got for ya: You’ve got your Cold Mountain, your Brokeback Mountain and if you really like I could always serenade you with my very own rendition of ‘She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes.’ Now there’s a song for ya…”
“Think I’ll pass Erin, but if you like, you can always try serenading the boss, you know how he’s a sucker for a good song and …”
“Now there’s an idea Shara, after all, you know what they say, If the mountain won’t come to Mohamed, Mohamed must go to the mountain.”
“Not sure what you’re getting at, but run it by the boss and see if he can make any sense of what you’re talking about Erin. I got work to do.”
“Sounds like an idea.” (making my way to the boss’ office) “Hey Boss, Commander in Chief, our Great Oracle and Prince of the Paycheck, was wondering if you got a minute? Wanna share a little something with ya! You ever hear the story about Mohamed and the Mountain? It’s really an interesting little tale about how this guy who is said to have been visited by the angel Gabriel…”
“Haven’t you got better things to do? In fact aren’t you supposed to be working on that popcorn account? I got bigger fish to fry right now Erin and if you don’t get your butt moving on that popcorn copy I’ll find a creative way to take that bat and …”
“Jeeess boss, you wouldn’t do something like that… imagine the fuss you’d create in the office by having our esteemed colleagues watch a grown man cry with popcorn on his brain and a baseball bat up his you know what. Have mercy all mighty one; you know the great Mohamed would have taken a much different approach and…”
“OUT! OUT! And take your friend Mohamed and that bat of yours with you and give me something on that popcorn account by the end of the day.”
“But boss, I got nothing. I need some…”
Ahhh… alas the life of a poor copywriter struck by writer’s block and labeled as the office bugger (woops I was supposed to change that title at some point – later perhaps, I’ve got a popcorn thing to write about). Go deep Erin. You can do it … think, think…. draw on the gift of inspiration that your colleagues so kindly have shared with you.
Let’s see, with Debby we’ve got secrets, with Mike it’s all about intellectual types, with Shara it’s about mountains and with our Commander and Chief it’s the prospect of watching a grown man cry with a bat up his… and what does this all have to do with popcorn you ask?
THE FIRST DRAFT: The Popcorn Copy
(have a look before I submit it to the boss)
Given our passion we at (popcorn company name) could go on all day about how we’ve created a one of a kind, popped to perfection, all natural, purely organic, mouth-watering snack. A naturally flavored kettle corn that’ll have grown men crying in their popcorn bowls, intellectuals uttering, “Dang, dat be some fine kettle corn”, and unadventurous types scaling mountaintops crying out, “Please sir, we want more!” But rather than do that, we’re going to let you in on a little secret. When it comes to popcorn folks we didn’t invent the stuff. Long before we threw our hats in the organic snack ring and long before there was glutton free, peanut allergies and an obsession for low fat snacks, the natives of this great nation of ours plucked and popped that single golden grain, a grain that we like to refer to as nature’s perfect package.
Call us old school if you will, but we’re not here trying to reinvent the wheel nor build a better mouse trap, we’re simply committed to bringing an old world organic snack into the twenty first century with a dash of all natural modern flavors. No deep frying, no microwaving, no unwanted chemicals, just some good old fashioned organic kettle corn from that natural golden grain that transcends all boundaries, cultures and time. Perfect for any occasion, our all-natural kettle corn comes in a variety of flavors (maple, sweet and salty…) and is sure to please even the most discriminating snack food connoisseurs. And while we can’t lay claim to having actually invented the stuff we can promise you this, (company name) makes the best tasting, light and fluffy, all natural organic kettle corn that’ll have you popping for more.
And there it is….Let’s hope the boss likes it and we can then move on with our next advertising project and when that next project does land on my desk you can bet I’ll be making the rounds and bugging the hell out of everyone or better put looking to my colleagues for inspiration!