Monday, May 4, 2015


I have a new TV show.

Maybe you've seen it.

It's called Happy-ish.

It's all about the life of a 44 year old copywriter who has grown bitter and angry with the industry that puts food on his table. And confused about the direction the business is going, particularly with its ungodly fascination with all things Twitterish. He's foul-mouthed. Delusional. And convinced the world is going to hell in a turbo-charged hand basket.

In other words, it's all about my life.

The problem is, I didn't write it. A fellow named Shalom Auslander did.
And it's not about my life, it's about his.

I met Shalom briefly in 1998. He was a copywriter at Chiat/Day in NYC. At the time, upper management was fond of flying my partner and I to the New York office to see if we could help out. I'm here to tell you, copywriters and art directors love it when they send in "help" from other offices.

How do they phrase it in the credentials -- putting global resources at the fingertips of visionary clients.

The irony of course was the NY creative department didn't need, or want, our help. The department  was chock full of talent including Shalom, now an accomplished author, and Toby Barlow, another accomplished author.

None of that stopped my partner and I from coming into town and acting like two untrained Great Danes. With full bladders. And a farm of cubicles to mark.

Fueled by this, and many other small indignities, Shalom went on to write Beware of God, one of my favorite books. And Foreskin's Lament. It was here that I learned of the odd parallel paths we had both taken.

He was raised in Monsey, NY.
I was raised in Suffern, NY, the very next town over.

He grew up as an Orthodox Jew.
I was raised as a reform Jew, but spent a great deal of time in Monsey. In lieu of expensive Hebrew school, my parents shlepped me down Route 306 to an old Hasidic rabbi's house for private and inexpensive lessons.

It was a crash course in phlegm, foul-smelling brisket and useless Talmudic teachings.

He became a copywriter and later, a disgruntled copywriter, with progressively unsatisfying stints at all the major ad agencies.

But this is where our paths diverge.

Shalom leveraged his wit and fondness for biting the hand that fed him for so many years. And now he is the driving force behind a TV show that handsomely pays him hundreds of thousands of dollars to skewer the greedy bastards who have irreversibly commoditized the business and rendered it no more creative than the pedestrian manufacture of industrial flanges.

I write a not-for-profit blog.

And the occasional Year End Sales Event.


Cecil B. DeMille said...

Are you having a moment? It sounds like you're having a moment. I've had a few, too, and the net result is that I still have a Year End Sales event to do, a mortgage to pay, and not enough time to flog myself for being an unmotivated waste of vocabulary.

laura l. sweet said...

love Happyish. Didn't know you knew the writer. Good little anecdote. Glad you shared.

gl said...

The good news is Happyish falls about 25% shy of what I think it should be, so still that leaves me with something to aspire to.