Bread and butter

I’M PACKING FOR MY SECOND LEFT-COAST FORAY IN A WEEK. The first one found me sweating in a snack-strewn L.A. conference room for two days, struggling to ask clear-headed questions on unfamiliar topics (the social media habits of empty nesters; anti-piracy safeguards; European adoption of Blu-ray Disc… Feeling sleepy? One of our German hosts, badly jetlagged, nearly rolled out of her chair).

I unloaded the resulting slew of campaign concepts for that project today, putting me a giant step closer to a weekend in Portland free of deadlines or anything whatsoever about User Scenarios. In an email from PDX today came this, a testament to my friends’ enduring ability to obliterate work-think (through the power of repulsion if nothing else):

So three tuned-out days, then back to business. I got a warm lead this week for a marketing gig at a suburban Catholic school. A certain electronics retailer needs a fancy press kit. There’s a new website for Soccer Moms that might want me to ghost-write its blog for a Cable-famous financial guru.

I am, of course, grateful for these calls. But I’m struck—again—by the randomness of my job. I’ve played it for laughs (and mortgage payments and SEP contributions) for 10 years, but the lack of focus often feels confusing. Is the joke on me?

I do have moments of clarity. In Cali I had to go out for razors and ended up getting those over-sharp triple-blade models, standard since the middle of the last decade though I’d somehow never tried them. Dabbing at the fresh cuts on my neck, it struck me: I just don’t do new. I only come around to that which everyone else has let go.

I’ve written about this before. Is my calling to be a committed and articulate advocate for Last Year’s Model? I have a half-baked idea for a magazine called OBSOLETE: an appreciation of objects and formats that are out of production but still discoverable by the dedicated few.

Selling reviews of stuff you can’t buy may qualify as the world’s shittiest business plan. So I guess that makes it an art project.

> Roxy Music – Mother of Pearl

  1. Marc said:

    In order to embrace the new — if that’s indeed what you need to do in order to disassociate yourself with the obsolete and its trajectory to nowhere — one must accept without trepidation the probability of public shame and private embarrassment when what he proselytizes as the “the next big thing” turns out, inevitably, to be merely the latest fad.

  2. Jake said:

    (Maybe) to your point, focusing my attention on the not-new can expose the silliness of new things.

  3. lullalm said:

    i’ve been using the same ol’ computer since ’05 with no apparent loss to productivity.
    of course, i’m not a gamer or anything…

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