The year was 1997. Bill Clinton was in the White House. The Spice Girls were topping the pop-charts. People were still watching TV shows on NBC. And I was entering the corporate world.
There I was, selling radio ads at a local Detroit radio station wearing a suit everyday …the same suit …every day. Hey, don’t laugh. I wasn’t going to charge suits on a credit card.
Because I only had one suit, I was trying to mix things up with different shirts and ties everyday, so maybe people wouldn’t notice. People noticed and I know they noticed because one day, in walks one of the hot-shot old dudes at the station who might’ve watched Glengarry Glen Ross a few too many times and he says to me, “that’s an ugly tie. Are all your ties that ugly? Hey, I have an idea …I have some ties I don’t wear, I’ll bring ’em in and you can have ’em, and that way you won’t go around town embarrassing yourself.”
So, here’s one of those ties that’s still in my collection 15 years later. Is it a great tie? Is it a brand I recognize? No. But it’s khaki, blue, grey, and black, which means it goes with everything, and everytime I purge the ol’ tie rack, I still can’t part with it.
Epilogue: Lest you think this guy was a total a-hole, he wasn’t. Turned out he was just a really funny, really nice guy and he never changed, and some of the ties he gave me still had tags and were brand new so I kinda think he bought them for me as a gesture of kindness. He retired recently and he went out with a great reputation, on his terms, and seemed genuinely happy. Not a bad thing to strive for. Hmmm …maybe I’ll go find some young whipper-snapper around him, insult his ties, and carry on the tradition by buying him some ties and helping him get started.
Some have called me foolish. Some have called me crazy. Some have told me they could never do it and wouldn’t even try. And if you know me, you know I love my smart phone and I love texting. I’ve talked to people at parties about how I think text messaging is better than talking. I liked texting so much, I didn’t even want the iPhone or any device without a QWERTY keyboard with actual buttons.
Note: I’ve since gotten an iPhone and I still hate the keyboard, so I use Dragon Dictation.
But I’ve decided …I want to talk to people. I don’t want to be known as “the guy who always sends a text.” And I don’t know that’s what I was becoming known for …but still.
From now until the end of October, I’m not going to text anyone. It’s been three hours since I made this decision, and I’m being taunted and ridiculed, but I will not be deterred.
Why am I doing this? I don’t know. I do things. That’s all I can say.
It’s Monday night and luckily there’s nothing on TV that I watch or that I write about. Sooooo, I’m going to write about some other things not related to pop-culture or TV. Tonight, I’ll plop down at my writing desk, finish off this Americano, pick out some non-intrusive music, finish this blog entry about nothing, and then get to writing about new home construction, motivation and delegation, and if there’s time, I’ll help audition to write and edit a fitness ebook.
This isn’t the life of a best-selling author, but hopefully I’m making connections and building an audience so that when I do write my first book, everyone will be excited about it and say things like, “I’ve always liked the stuff he writes.”
The thing is, I enjoy it. I enjoy jumping from topic to topic and trying to top myself and put myself into a frame of mind to write for a specific audience.
Am I in a position to offer writing advice? Hardly. But sometimes people ask about writing and getting started and I tell them what I know …basically, I don’t know if there’s one path to getting started. The cool thing is, since there isn’t “one path”, you can sometimes invent your own. Like, if you want to be a lawyer, you have to go to college, study pre-law, then go onto law school, then get into a law firm, and go from there. Same if you want to be a surgeon …or a pilot. However, if you want to be a writer …you just write. And you can try this, and try that, and if you don’t like that, try something new.
Side note …I’m glad pilots and surgeons don’t have the option of dabbling.
But once you start, all I can advise is …find a voice. Sometimes, your client might not want your Shakespearean sense of prose and style, and sometimes they won’t want your sarcasm or your set-up and punchline, but that’s OK. Sometimes you’ll just need to write something straight …which is great practice.
So, that’s my advice …write. Look on Craigslist for someone looking for writing. Write for them. Keep good track of your time and your articles so you have a nice resume to show people.
Good luck. It’s 9:20 …I gotz to get to writin’.
Lest you think I only write about home building, wealth, freedom, motivation, American Idol, and Survivor …there’s soooo much more to me. Like, I also write about The Amazing Race. My wife dreams of being on Survivor (which I admit I’d like to do, too), but my real dream is to be on The Amazing Race.
This Sunday is the premier of The Amazing Race and I’m especially excited because two contestants are from the Detroit area. That’s always awesome when you’re watching TV, right? When you realize the people you’re watching on TV are from your hometown? We’re all so easily amused. However, this is especially exciting, because Will (of the Gary & Will team) has been in my bowling league for the last 10 years. And as I mention in my preview, although I’m not very social and he and I have never really made small talk or idle chit-chat, the point is …he’s stood less than 3 feet from me talking to a guy on my team – MULTIPLE TIMES!
So naturally I just connect the dots and say, “hey, we’re like BFFs …practically.” But seriously, I’m rooting for Will (and Gary) and hope they go really far.
One of the things I do when I’m not posting pictures of the ties I’m wearing and when I’m not …um …oh, man, I guess there’s not much else I do, come to think of it. Well, anyway, let’s say I had a really active social life and lots of hobbies and I did charity work …when I managed to get a break from all that stuff, I’d tell you that I write about TV shows. Namely …Survivor.
Way back when I first started blogging, in order to fill space, I’d write about TV shows. It was revolutionary and nobody believed it could be done. “Don,” they’d say. “Why would anyone watch a show and then want to read about what they’ve just watched? After all …it’s why TV and movies were invented, so nobody would have to ‘read the book’ ever again.”
But I forged ahead, undeterred, thinking everyone would want to know what I thought of a TV show instead of what they, themselves, thought of it. In the end, I was right …people loved to read about what they already watched and spunkybean was born.
This, however, is not a history of spunkybean …this is a shameless plug of my writing that’s currently posted at another website. This is a blog entry with two links and some well placed keywords that will make my #Survivor recap more “sticky” and “viral”, even though I’m not sure it actually will.
On Wednesday’s Survivor, someone went home who I think didn’t have to go home, and if she hadn’t taken the “I’m very angry and I’ve been wronged” approach and instead tried the “friendly” approach, I think she wouldn’t have been voted off. But it’s early, and truthfully, nobody eliminated before the merge really has any shot of being memorable.
Later today there’ll be another tie and I might write about how I write about The Amazing Race. Oh, yes …I do that, too.
Recently, some people have scolded me for this “44 Days of Ties” experiment and pointed out, hey, you aren’t actually wearing ties for 44 days in a row.
Guilty. I had high hopes that I could do that, but turns out, with the varying color schemes, I didn’t have enough shirts and had to take a few days off. Yes, every tie goes with white shirts, but I only have three white shirts. I tried to color coordinate as best I could, like with the tie above from Express Design Studio, which is very colorful and paired up nicely with a dark brown dress shirt, but other times I can’t make it work.
So, if you’re not into this experiment anymore, I won’t blame you. But …rest assured, I’m going to get through all my ties.
Oh, and in the background, that’s Ford World Headquarters …I shouldn’t give them access to my 18 readers like this for free, but hey …I support my American car companies.
In honor of the presidential election I’m wearing what I call my “campaign tie”. Red, white, and blue. This one, in all honesty, might actually be a little too wild for even a presidential candidate to wear.
It’s by J.S. Blank & Co., which I’m pretty sure is a Joseph A. Banks knock off.
I wear it on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. I should add Veterans Day to that list.
I’m Patriotic, I tellz ya. Don’t believe me. Ask my tie.
Another thing I’m doing is writing about Survivor over at spunkybean, and I’ll be recapping it all season long. Read it here. Tell your friends. Share my article on Facebook, Twitter, or print 10 copies and drop them in the mail (though, that won’t help me at all, come to think of it).
I’m trying some new things with my writing and my social media …namely, I’m going to start using Tumblr a whole lot more. I can’t find a ton of people to follow on Tumblr, but if you leave your Tumblr blog URL in the comment section, I’ll follow you. Want to follow my Tumblr blog. Well, click here …and thank you.
I think I’m going to make Tumblr a place where I post all my license plate photos, tie photos, and other random stuff and links to my writing, and then from there I’ll branch out to spunkybean, Kaleidoscopic Raygun, and other stuff. I’ll call it ‘how I write.’
Today’s tie is Ralph Lauren and it’s the only thing I own that’s Ralph Lauren or Polo. If you’d have asked me in 1988 if I’d ever imagine my future wardrobe void of Polo or Ralph Lauren, I would’ve popped my collar, taken off my white framed sunglasses, and I would’ve said “hell no” in a totally tubular way.
And a final piece of business …I’m excited for Survivor to start tonight and I pre-judged all the contestants and made some predictions over thar at spunkybean. Join me for a season-long recapping adventure full of opinions, observations, and ideas for how to best construct your audition video for getting on Survivor.
Here’s an interesting tie. It says it’s from Neiman Marcus, and I don’t shop there. I don’t even have the guts to say, “I got this tie at Neiman’s” as if I’m too cool to say “Marcus.” However, my wife tells me she’s “awesome” and because she’s “awesome” she sometimes shops at “Neiman’s.”
This is a great tie. Goes with a light blue shirt, a brown shirt, off white …purple (not that I have a purple dress shirt, but if I did …this tie would go with it).
It’s a little shiny, and that really makes it “pop” in pictures with a flash. Ahem …my photo technique doesn’t do it justice above.
Another thing I do? I write about TV. You knew that, right? Yes …I founded spunkybean and I write about American Idol, Bachelor, Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, and now …this season …I’ll be writing about Survivor and The Amazing Race.
So, before Survivor: Philippines premiers tomorrow night, let’s meet the cast, shall we? Here’s a quick fun fact …Lisa Welchel, who played Blair Warner on The Facts of Life, is on the show. She’s probably only there to wave her Bible at us, but that’s cool. Why not?
I hope you read it and check back all season and chat about the show.
Wearing ties hasn’t been a problem, but remembering to snap a picture has proven to be quite the challenge. So, while this blog entry says I’m on Day 14, I missed about a half-dozen days. But I will get through all 44 of my ties.
Today’s tie is from the Express Design Studio collection.
The background to this photo is the fire exit door on the second floor of my building. About 2 months ago they, apparently, greased the hinges and used a little too much grease. How do I know? Well, every day the grease drip inches a little further down the door and nobody has bothered to wipe it off. It’s a snails pace, but it’s about 2 feet from the floor and I’m pretty excited about seeing it hit the floor.
(No word on weather the door opens without squeaking or smoother).