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Palette of Departments
By Jerry Rabushka,
Yo ho ho and a gallon of paint
Fourth try at this; no one to quote but myself. We’re done saying “happy holidays” and back to saying “please advertise.” Life goes on another year.Holidays are over and we’re all trying to get back into things. I’m seeing this in our office as well as throughout the industry; everyone is digging out of a pile of “I haven’t done any work since December 17th.” This is OK; people need some holiday time to themselves. It’s not like anyone comes in and does my job when I’m gone, so I’ve got a shovel and I’m digging out. Literally, if you’ve seen my office.
Every now and then I’ll talk about the collection of old classic books I have on a baker’s rack in my back room; my dad got them at a rummage sale, maybe before I was born. They range in publication from 1847 to about 1930. I’ve read The House of the Seven Gables, where the introduction lets us know which of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s children are still living. An original pressing of Main Street by Sinclair Lewis was a surprise, it’s about petty people in small town America. Apparently it was a surprise in 1920 as well. Small town America was not pleased.
I’m not a fan of the pirate craze going on these days, so I avoided Treasure Island until last week. My copy is perfect for the mood—the pages are brittle and yellowed and the book smells like a musty attic. Treasure Island was the 1880s version of Harry Potter in that it was written to encourage youngsters to crack open a book. Unlike Harry’s 3,407 pages, Stevenson’s pirate story wraps up in 239.
“You’re as smart as paint,” says Long John Silver to Jim Hawkins. No one seems to know what that means, and that’s possibly the first (and last) time that phrase appears in literature. Some folks posit that since new paint was smart-looking—fresh, polished, clean, there was a double meaning of being “on trend” and intelligent. I’m only on page 100 and paint already has several mentions—a freshly painted sign beckons customers to a tavern, and at one point Jim comments how the original sign at an old inn, when re-painted, loses its warmth and welcome.
We have a Christmas miracle here: in 2011 someone brought in a couple poinsettias he got from working a catering job. One of them dutifully lasted through the season and expired, but the other has been growing, leafing and blooming off and on ever since. I’ve never seen a poinsettia last this long in Missouri; we’re all very proud of it actually. It’s not the prettiest poinsettia you’ve ever seen, but it’s overcome incalculable odds to greet us through four Christmases. A little bit like The Paint Contractor magazine. Still here after some tough years.
If there’s one resolution I try to make and keep every year, every day, it’s “Don’t get into fights with people on the internet that you don’t know.” Even if someone else is right, who’s going to admit it?
Internet encourages us to put our opinions out there for all to see, garnished with the comment “if you don’t like it, that’s your problem.” Chances are several of your potential customers don’t want to hear who you think should be president, who you think should or shouldn’t be married, or how you think people should use their EBT card. If you’re a professional trying to sell your services and someone sees you on social media as a blowhard that stomps their way of thinking, I wonder how likely you are to get hired. Why not talk about sports instead:
“Who are the Cowboys playing next week? No one? How did that happen?”
“Take your paint-and-primer-in-one and get out!”
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