Left Field, Bitter Pills and other Mixed Metaphors


The little advertising agency I manage with my friend and partner in professional and recreational crime has a client whose own marketing department is managed by a relative newcomer to the industry I've made a living and a difference in for 34 years. This marketing director waves his curriculum vitae like a rainbow flag at a gay pride hay ride. He's got an MBA, and he rubs my nose in it every chance he gets. That's not what bothers me. Jerry has asked me to prepare a marketing manager's primer on today's teen-aged bicycle consumer. Call it The A to Z of BMX. I feel qualified to prepare such a tutorial—I've been involved in every capacity of the scene you can imagine—I just don't feel obligated. What's Jerry going to do with it when I'm finished—use it to dry the moisture behind his ears? I was fine-tuning the Bendix coaster brake on my Tuff Wheels before he was born. Divining the zeitgeist in the collective pop conscience of modern youth is voodoo most primal, and definitely something they don't extrapolate in academia. How can you explain a 14-year-old boy's penchant for girl's jeans in a spreadsheet? You can't. Which is why I don't even want to try. The way I see it, you either get this shit or you don't. Jerry doesn't know the difference in a polo shirt and a retro T—nothing I could say in charts or graphs is going to change that. My advice to Jerry is this: if you haven't been down a road before, hand the keys to someone who knows how to drive. Unfortunately, Jerry is so busy checking out his Oakleys in the rearview mirror he doesn't see the cliff on the horizon.

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