Friday, July 8, 2011

Ahh, Much Ado About Doing Nothing

I love being on vacation. For seven whole days I’ve got no bills to pay, no one to answer to, and my greatest obligation is to do as little as possible. I think I’m doing a mighty fine job of it. Right now I’m about to stroll over to the beach to do a bunch of nothing in the sun, but until then, I get to lie around here in the hotel and watch TV.

Now, the TV-watching is a special treat for me. A throwback to a bygone era, I don't have TV at home, so when I get to sit this close to one for this long, I feel a little like Tiny Tim at the toy store window – with money in my pocket. At least enough to borrow the shiny carousel for a week.

Here’s the thing about TV. I hear folks at work talk about this all the time – how they’ve got hundreds of channels and nothing good on any of them. Usually I just laugh and nod along with them like I can relate to what they’re talking about. But inside I recognize this as another good reason I don't need cable TV at home.

I’ve been researching it at the hotel for several days now, and my work people are right. There really is crap on TV. The commercials, however, are fabulous. I've been repeatedly amazed at how clever these advertising people are. I just saw a dog sticking its butt out a car window, which was awesome in an ironic sort of way, and even better, I saw Santa drinking a Pepsi on the beach with a bunch of young hotties. But then, Santa was on vacation. So am I, now that you mention it. (Note my dedication.)

Working in the world of marketing, great slogans stand out to me. I can't tell you how unexpected it was that I wound up in this line of work. Probably a hundred times in my younger life I declared, “There’s no way I’d ever work in advertising.” And yet here I sit. Or rather, here I lie, worthlessly, in a hotel room.

But I’ve discovered things come together the way they’re supposed to. I love it when that happens. This morning, for example, I roused my sleepy, unmotivated self out of bed for some free hotel breakfast. They’ve got one of those waffle irons where you pour the batter in, flip it over, and out comes a giant waffle of fluffy golden goodness. In 20 years (heck, maybe 40), I've probably used a waffle iron twice. I was really excited about using it today – I get homemade food without any real effort. Once I had my waffle on plate, I sat down for my morning social media fix. What did I discover? Today’s holiday: Waffle Iron Day. Kismet!

Last time I was down here on the coast, I saw what was perhaps the best worst slogan I’ve ever seen. It was a tagline for a seafood restaurant: “Dead Food. Live Music.” Ben, our creative director, says he wishes I could write stuff this good. Why don’t I churn out copy as fast as my putdowns?

I remind him that making fun of him comes naturally; selling a brand with clever, poignant prose takes a little more thought. Rebuffed, he usually backs down. He knows I’m on my game.

Next week, I’m heading to the Okefenokee! I wonder what adventures await me in that swampy, moss-covered marshland. Voodoo magic and alligators? I’d settle for some good food. Pensacola brought me waffles, maybe the Okefenokee will turn up a little poke salad.

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