Tuesday, July 16, 2019

That's how it starts

My youngest daughter Abby has quite a photographic eye and an excellent sense of design, nevertheless I have always said, "one day she will be a writer."

This week she took one step closer to that goal. Though I suspect she doesn't even know it.

You see my little crabapple hasn't fallen far from the tree. She recently wrote a letter to a Vice President at the Popsicle Corporation, a division of Unilever. Seems she had been having difficulty locating their product in Boulder, CO.  And wanted to know where she could find her favorite Cherry Pineapple Swirl Big Stick.

Most people, faced with the dilemma of not being able to locate a frozen sugary dessert treat would move on down the freezer shelf and find a tasty alternative. But my daughter is not most people.

I don't have a copy of the email she sent to the Popsicle Big Wig, but from all accounts it was personal, it was odd and it was funny.

Funny enough, in fact for the Muckety-Muck VP at Popsicle to write back.

Not only did this corporate big wig write back, she also included a very generous coupon for Popsicle products available for purchase in California.

This is how it starts.

When you come to realize that well chosen and well placed words can move people. Can motivate them. Can actually initiate a change in their behavior.

Quick anecdote. When I was a junior in college, I was determined to establish my financial independence. Due in no small part to my father's, how shall I put this, thriftiness.

"Pay for your own damn college, you lazy bum."

And so I worked. As a bartender. As a short order cook. As a dishwasher. I think I even tutored college freshman in Math for a few shekels.

You see by completely weaning myself off my father's income, the financial aid office at Syracuse University would be forced to hand over some money. Or so I thought.

By the time my senior year rolled around, they came up with bubkus. Naturally I was outraged and took pen to paper, writing a 1500 word essay detailing my plight as an onion-skinning prep cook at a local gastropub. The colorful and pungent piece covered half a page in the Daily Orange, the student newspaper, and effectively shamed the Financial Aid office before the entire student body. Sufficiently enough that they re-reviewed my case.

Within a week I had a check for a good part of my senior year tuition. Words have consequences.

Now my daughter's journey has begun.

One day she will look back on it and write the story of her beginning. And the critical role played by a Popsicle Big Stick.

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