Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Failure of the Day: Ultra

Another focus group today. This one for smokers, and I figure I'll milk that angle for the couple of months I've got left. The guy who called me to see if I qualified sounded just like Norm Macdonald from SNL; he was gruff and impatient but very, very helpful.

When I told him I smoked Doral Lights, he said slowly, "Are you sure it's not Doral ultra lights? Because if you said you smoked those, you would qualify for the group." So I said, "Oh, yeah, I meant ultra lights." And he said, "That's what I thought." And when he asked my occupation and I said I was an editor, he said, "Are you sure you're not a project manager?" And wouldn't you know it, I am a project manager! I'm so silly, forgetting the details like that!

So I will toddle off to downtown this afternoon and sell my opinions for cash, which, it occurs to me, is big improvement from the days when artists had to sell blood. Opinions are extracted much more easily, and the snacks are better at research firms than at blood banks. And if I'm cheating, which I certainly am (in a whole bunch of ways), I can't really feel too bad about it. I'm good at having opinions, and really, really specific ones at that. I'm an ideal focus group participant: thoughtful, well-spoken, and most importantly, I will lie my ass off in order to qualify.


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