Hello, Failure

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Failure of the Day: Will Opine for Food

It’s focus group season again. I spent last night discussing some truly terrible print ads for a virus protection software company, and tonight: spaghetti! By the time I’m done, I will have earned an amount of money precisely equal to this year’s bill from my accountant. Ain’t life grand?

I had never heard of the company whose product ads were under discussion last night, and I don’t give a shit about virus protection software. I just use what came with my computer. That may be foolhardy, but if a file is important to me I back it up to within an inch of its life and say que sera sera to the rest. The company, though, wanted their would-be customers to believe very strongly that YOU ARE YOUR DATA. (That’s an approximation of their wording, but an exact replication of their message.) To which I replied, while calmly drinking my free diet Dr Pepper, “Am not.” And then they gave me a check.

Tonight is a longer and more lucrative group about an Italian restaurant chain that I used to think was just kind of blah but where we went for dinner last weekend and found to be FANTASTIC! I don’t know what’s come over me! I used to be so much more of a snob. Maybe it’s that the SF branch of the place is just way better than the one in Vallejo, or maybe it’s that I haven’t had pasta in a really long time, but oh my god! It was FANTASTIC! I don’t even mind that this focus group came complete with a packet of homework that I had to complete before the group tonight, including an assignment to “make a collage illustrating what casual dining adds to my life.” (I drew a smiley face and wrote the word “pleasant.”)

Ah, but such are the adventures of those of us whose opinions are so incredibly valuable that grown men will pay cash for the privilege of hearing them. It’s a shame I can’t do it full time, it really is. I got a million opinions, and there’s not one of them I wouldn’t sell.


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