Creative skeletons in my closet

Could someone please explain Wildboyz on MTV2? It’s Jackass with the B-team. I don’t understand Nate’s compulsion to watch it every night because it’s essentially the same show over and over: A half-naked guy lets a snake bite his ass. Or sometimes it’s a crab. Or sometimes it’s a toucan. Or sometimes it’s another guy. They should just call it Who Will Bite My Ass Today?

I left Nate to his show and found a far more interesting activity–reorganizing the front hall closet.

Amidst the the piles of clothes for Goodwill, the Christmas regift box, hardware of dubious usefulness, and duffel bags which only seem to exist to hold other duffel bags, I came across my old copywriting portfolio. (If you’ve ever poked around my blog, you will know that this is how I pay the bills.)

We’re talking old. Like, really old. Like, I was living in my swinging NYC bachelorette pad, the first bad Bush was in office, O.P.P. was on the radio, and we all thought eating Snackwells was the key to weight loss. Also, back in (cough, cough) ’91 a portfolio was a big leather thing that you schlepped up and down the broken subway station escalators until you were good and sweaty for your job interview. Not these newfangled shiny disc-things that the kids carry around nowadays.

So I wrestled it out from under the duffel bag of duffel bags, dusted it off, and flipped through the laminated pages.

And I laughed.

I’ll spare you the student ads for the New England Bartending School (Orgasm jokes! Clever!) and skip right to the highlight: a brilliant little commercial script I had forgotten about entirely.

If memory serves me, I had no doubt whatsoever that my fine clients in Chicago would buy said brilliant spot, shell out a million or so for the talent, splash it across primetime network television, and make me famous beyond my wildest dreams. My Clio Awards Best of Show acceptance speech was going to strike the appropriate balance of humility and humor; I even had the perfect Betsey Johnson dress picked out.

Allow me to share the script:

Client: The Quaker Oats Co.
Product: Quaker Toasted Oatmeal Ready-to-Eat Cereal
:30 TV


Open on Shirley MacLaine in her dressing room, eating a bowl of cereal.

SHIRLEY: I know I’ve never had this cereal before. It’s brand new. But something about it tastes…so familiar.

ANNOUNCER: Introducing Quaker Toasted Oatmeal.

SHIRLEY: It’s as if hot Quaker Oatmeal came back as a cold ceral.

ANNOUNCER: Covered with crunchy wholegrain oats, it’s the only cold cereal with the goodness of hot Quaker Oatmeal.

SHIRLEY: I’ve been eating Quaker Oatmeal my whole life. Maybe longer. But this is the first time I’ve had it crunchy.

Cut to product shot. Tagline up.

ANNOUNCER: New Quaker Toated Oatmeal in Original or Honey Nut. America’s greatest flakes.


I will completely understand if you never come back here again.

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