Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#145 In which our hero doesn’t feel like working.

I’m a copywriter. In addition to being expected to write complete sentences using correct grammar, I’m expected to produce concepts that are interesting and compelling, as well. Because of this, a lot of people think that I get paid for being creative.

This is not true.

I believe that anyone can be creative. It isn’t much of a skill, honestly. Thousands of people do thousands of creative things. So I’m not paid to be creative, I’m paid to be creative on demand.

That’s the real trick. Given enough time and resources, anyone can come up with a brilliant idea. Well, at least a decent idea. But set a deadline and most people freak out and can’t think of anything.

Right now, the demand on me is to write a four- to eight-page brochure. The job came to me late yesterday, and I only had time to read over the brief. So, I should be re-reading the brief and digesting all the support materials that came with it.

But I’m just not into it.

That’s the other thing I’m paid to do: write materials for stuff that doesn’t interest me. Again, lots of people can be creative with stuff that captivates their imagination, but their enthusiasm quickly fades when faced with something that bores them. This brochure is for a new kind of engine belt, and I’m having trouble mustering the same level of fascination that the client seems to process. So I’m putting it off. We need to show the client something by end of day next Tuesday, which means I need to have the copy done before then so the designer has time to create a layout. So I should really finish it up today or tomorrow.

And I’ll get it done, I’ve never missed a deadline before. But I’m just not that into work today. And I’ll tell you why. It’s because of this:

That’s a Magnavox 32” LCD widescreen TV. My work is giving this away today.

Actually, the agency is having a “Festival de Mexico” today, with Mexican food and drinks. Which is cool. But they also have a contest to win the TV above.

And I want to win that fucking TV.

There’s a big jar full of beans outside of HR. Whoever comes closest to guessing the number of beans inside, without going over, walks away with that TV. So I created a plan. I bought five bags of black beans and brought them to work with me. My plan was to construct a paper replica of the jar, fill it with beans, then count and win.

But, those HR fuckers threw a monkey wrench in my plans.

When I got to work today I found that the jar didn’t contain just black beans as advertised, but a combination of black beans and pinto beans. Which, if you haven’t already guessed, are two different sizes. Plus, the jar is large enough that there could be a baseball or something else inside to through off the count.

So, new plan.

At lunch I’m going to run over to the store and buy some pinto beans. Then I’ll make my paper model, fill it up and count ‘em.

Until then, I’ll try to focus on writing this brochure. Now, if it was a brochure for a widescreen TV…

2:30PM UPDATE: I made my paper jar and quickly realized that filling it completely with beans would be A LOT OF BEANS. So I drew a the one inch line, filled it with beans, and counted those beans. Which was still a hell of a lot of beans to count; 2,420 to be exact. So I multipled this number by six (the number of inches tall of the level of beans in the jar) and then subtracted 15% to account for the fact that the jar isn't really square, it's slightly curved on the edges, resulting in a slight loss of beans in the corners (I think). Plus, if I go over I lose no matter what, so it seemed wise to estimate low. Clearly this is only a half-step removed from pure guesswork... but I'm hopeful. I've heard other people talking and the number of 4,000-5,000 kept coming up. Which is crazy low if I'm even in the right ballpark.

Keep your fingers crossed.

FINAL UPDATE: I didn't win. The actual number of beans was 10,254. My guess was 12,342, putting me over by 2,088. Pfft.


Blogger dressagemom said...

I hope your counts are close. Momma wants a new TV!

1:58 PM

Blogger Lil Kate said...

Wow. I WISH I had things HALF as constructive as that contest to distract me from the work I'm supposed to be doing. I hope your plan works and that you win the TV!! If you win, can I come over and watch your new TV?

2:37 PM

Blogger craig said...

You're welcome any time. But, I'm afriad any TV watching will have to happen on our old, crappy TV.

8:28 AM

Anonymous Janice said...

Pfft Indeed!

11:08 PM

Blogger dave said...

So what was the winning guess? Not that it would be any consolation, but was your guess the closest even though it was too high?

3:32 AM

Blogger craig said...

The winning guess was 9,975, making the winner under by 279. Just a *little* bit closer than my 3,000+ over the mark guess.

The winner? From accounting. Literally, a bean-counter. Can you stand it?

9:08 AM


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