Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Writing the Phone book, Day Three

Impossibly, we're on Day Three of "Writing the Phone Book."

Oh how time flies when engaged in such a mundane and tedious affair. I assure you next week we will return to our R17 staples: fevered rants about advertising, illogical xenophobic forays into Middle East politics and the slow degeneration of my mind as I slide towards 45.

Today I consider myself quite lucky, because today is tax day.

I'm not sure I had ever written those set of words before.

Instead of meandering about the Yellow Pages in search of a topic, let's go straight to the Accountants, Certified Public.

Fittingly, they are listed after Abortion Services and right before Advertising Agencies & Counselors. I leave you to write your own hardworking jokes about that placement.

Accountancy is something from which I know. I come from accountancy. The last generation of Siegel men, having seen the previous generations earn a living driving NYC cabs or farming grubs in the old country, decided, in Jeffersonian fashion, that it was time to "move it on up."

My father, my uncle and even my brother, schooled themselves in debits, credits and operating income, and all successfully passed the New York State requirements to earn a CPA.

I too was headed down this lucrative path and a lifetime of hunched shoulders, dusty tax code books and the magical ability to work an adding machine while blindfolded.

My interest in accountancy took a nosedive during my freshman year at college, when I had mistakenly signed up for an 8 AM introductory course. Students at Syracuse University learn very quickly that it is impossible to attend those type of early classes when the temperature is in the single digits and the snowfall is in the double digits.

I switched majors and owe a debt of gratitude to Lake Ontario Effect Snow.

So now I see a professional, Don Jung.

Oddly enough Don is not listed in this version of the phone book. Not that he needs to be. He and his firm are legendary throughout the world of West Los Angeles Advertising Professionals. He's the creative's creative. Stashing money in one place so the government can't take money from another.

And his list of clients couldn't be more stellar. He even does the taxes for Lee Clow. I'm sure Lee is just as impressed that Don works on shaving my debt to the government.

"Oh I didn't know you did the taxes for Brian Siegel."

I feel good about using the same CPA as my former boss. I like knowing I'm getting sound financial advice from the same guy who lords over Lee's numbers.

After all I've been to the Clow household. I've sat in the big leather chairs in the family room, looking over the cliffs of the Palos Verdes. I've heard the waves of the Pacific crashing alongside Lee's personal dock. And I've sat up top, on the deck with a 5 star view of the sun setting under a fiery pink sky.

"Hey Don, I've had a pretty good year. Worked for a bunch of different agencies, picked up some new clients and made a ton of creative directors very happy. What do I have to do to get a house like Lee's?"

"Rich, I'm a CPA not a magician."

Magicians are on page 178.

Coming up tomorrow, the thrilling conclusion to The week I wrote the Phone Book and a visit from Heywood Jablomi.

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