Monday, December 4, 2006

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Sunday, December 03, 2006

When we last left our intrepid New Yorker, THE COUCH, he was living with his girlfriend , his second roommate, and his roommate’s girlfriend in the bedroom plus loft on 22nd Street in Manhattan.
At this time, he was working on 6th Avenue and 56th Street in a big time advertising agency, running the Print Production department. It was a wild place to work in those days.

His boss was a workaho
lic/alcoholic who engulfed all around him to partake as he did.

, was one of those swept up in this whirlwind of creativity, debauchery and fogginess. Many work days began at 10:00 am or so. Upon arrival at work, he would go through all of the jobs that had been produced by his vendors during the evening hours…
THE COUCH NOTE: To try and explain better what our young hero actually did in the advertising agency, we will take a short journey away from our story for a bit.

The clients needed advertising (DOH), and this agency did TV, radio and print ads (ya know newspaper and magazine ads).

Well the creative department (art director and copywriting team) would develop an ad. The media people would decide where these ads would run.

Our young, struggling production hero would then have to figure out how many sizes of the ad were needed to fit all the publications (sometimes you could use the same size for multiple books), get the typography set (at that time done outside by a Type Shop) and then have the film (not film like a camera uses, but negative film- one for each of the four printing colors – black, cyan, magenta and yellow) produced by a “color separation house”

OK, how many of you have fallen off THE COUCH, your head about to explode?

Cutting to the chase (
what the hell does that mean anyway???) our hero had to spec the type (decide what sizes were needed, what line lengths etc...) then color approve the proofs made from the film before it went to the publication…

So, when we arrive at work, go through the proofs, mark them up for color correction and then route them through the agency by a “traffic” person, getting comments and approvals from the other departments.

Then work on calling the publications, getting extensions where needed and other various mundane chores…except for some display items, print production does not have much creative input in the general agency setting.

At around 2:00 pm, a number of people would go out to lunch… Now lunch then included drinks…plural…times 4 …

Back to work around 4:30 or so, and at this time the salesman that
THE COUCH, dealt with would begin wandering in to pick up their shop’s workload for the evening. On any given day, that would mean 4 – 7 sales people.

As each of these people walked in they would stop at the soda machine right inside the door to our floor. They would insert a quarter and press one of the two buttons that had no markings on them. Out would slide a can of beer…and then another. One for themselves and the other for our young professional.

As they walked into his office, they place a can in front of him and pop open theirs.
THE COUCH, would slide open his bottom drawer and slide out the bottle of Jack Daniels and the cups he kept there.

Over the next 3 hours, work would get done, jokes would be told, competing sales people would bust each others chops…but always the work got done...well.

Sometime after 8 pm or so, all the sales people gone, it was time to move back across the street where our boss, and other members of his “group” had dinner and drank until midnight or so…then find a limo that was waiting for it’s evening fare to get done with dinner, slip the driver a ten dollar bill and get driven home.

This happened, for some, five nights a week...
THE COUCH was there many nights in the beginning, but it changed later on...but we got the work done and we did it well.

We were voted the “Hot Shop” by Ad Age that year!

THE COUCH, also began a softball team at the agency and found a field for us to play on underneath the 59th Street Bridge (yup just like the song) on the Manhattan side. Every Monday, we would leave early and all walk across town to the field and play a team on our schedule. We were the envy of the advertising softball league because most teams needed to go way uptown to Randall’s Island to play.

After the game, off to one of the joints along First Avenue for dinner and beers.

THE COUCH developed an alter-ego named Babe Stengle who did a weekly report on the games. Only a few people knew who The Babe was at first.

At the end of the season, we held a banquet where The Babe gave out awards. Our yo
ung coach had a cool rubber mask, added stuffing to his clothes and gloves and a wig TO COMPLETE THE ILLUSION.

Well, the drinks flowed pretty well that night and at about 11:30,
THE COUCH, feeling no pain, went back across the street to get some things he had forgotten.

In the studio (where the creative assistants sat) were the two big bosses bent over a table looking at mock-ups for a pitch the next morning to a large camera company..

, moves between them and slobbers “Tha’s da wrong type font” and then staggers away.

Because of the big presentation we were in at 9 the next morning. A few minutes after sitting at my desk, wondering where those last few brain cells had gone, when one of the two bosses sticks his head in, looks me in the eye and says:

“DON'T ever come back to the office like that again…and you were correct, it was the wrong font…thanks.”

And walks out. Side note—they never got the account.

Another time, we were out with one of the brighter traffic people with me on a press approval (where you go to the printer and approve the color of the job while it is printing). This was for signage for a large fast food chain.

It was in the morning and we were done about 11. We got in a cab from downtown Manhattan and gave the driver an address on the east side of town in the 40’s. “Where are we going?”,
THE COUCH was asked. “It is almost lunch time.”, was the reply.

When we got to the restaurant, my “protégée” went to the door and turned and said “Not open yet.”

, grinned that grin and walked to the door and knocked. The woman who owned the place broke into a smile and said “WELCOME, and who is your friend?”

After introductions, we went to the bar and she poured us a drink and my friend turned to me and said “So, this is how production people live...I want to do this!”

Over the next year or so, we worked together often and he eventually became head of production for the NY office of one of the largest agencies in the world!

Eventually, we left the job at the agency and went into print sales.
We mentioned the woman we were living with, well she worked at the agency also, and when we started dating, she was not real happy with my schedule, and as I mentioned above, the schedule did slow down, going home more nights then going out....

We would leave together in the morning and just be friendly on the bus to the office, as other employees took that bus often.

At night, she would normally leave before me and the nights when we did not get sucked into the void of the evening, would make my way home soon after.

Now, as we said…all things at home were going pretty well. She was not always happy with the over-indulgence of
THE COUCH'S life style, and looking back, we are surprised she lasted as long as she did.

A case in point…The night we were to go to her sister’s birthday dinner and she had to come across the street to drag us out of the bar, stinking drunk. It ruined the evening for her sister, her and all concerned. This is one incident
THE COUCH, highly regrets.
There was some great times also…Our friends were getting married up in the Thousand Islands in NY, just across from Canada.

We drove up with my best friend and his wife. It was a fun week, with many fraternity brothers around and great weather.

The night before the wedding,
THE COUCH, walked into the gift shop at the resort and spotted a beautiful ring with a Sapphire stone (her favorite gem).

And they were engaged.

We rented speedboats that week and went barreling along the St. Lawrence Seaway. We visited Heart Island. A small island with where Boldt Castle can be found.

Originally designed to be a monument for his wife Louisa, George C. Boldt cancelled construction 4 years after beginning, when his love died suddenly.

Please go HERE to learn more about this tragic story and the history of the island.

The wedding was a blast and
THE COUCH was a secondary official photographer and took some great pictures that the bride and groom used in their albums.

Back in the real world again, work consumed both she and THE COUCH. They began planning their wedding (which they were to pay for), and their life together.

Then word came that roommate and his girlfriend were also getting married. Everyone was happy.

One day roommate comes to
THE COUCH and says “My fiancés parents are coming to NY to help us plan the wedding; they will be here for 3 weeks.”

had immediate flashbacks to the time with his first roommate’s mother being there and now, it would be even more crowded. The four roommates and the parents staying in the living room!

This can not happen, roommate was told. They have to go to a hotel. Two or three nights, ok…3 weeks, no way.

It was near Christmas and
THE COUCH was out at a big supplier party when he got a page from home. Calling home to find out that parents are at the apartment with baggage and are unpacking as we speak!

Our drunken party-goer dashes home to confront roommate and a battle ensues. Roommate and
THE COUCH do not talk for a few years, but eventually bury the hatchets and are great friends once again.
This incident caused all concerned to decide to move out of the apartment…and she and THE COUCH end up moving in THE COUCH'S parent’s home.

Mom & Dad
are living in NYC 5 days a week, so it is not too bad.

Unfortunately, things do not work out and the relationship ends… semi-badly.

A fore-telling of the ruin of this relationship was the burning down of the hall they had selected for their marriage…

There are a few attempts at reconciliation,
something always causes it not to happen and they go their separate ways.

Many years later
THE COUCH does a Google and finds out that she now lives with someone "down-under" and through a few emails finds she and her daughter are wonderful and happy.
Now single, THE COUCH experiences the dating scene for the first time in a number of years….
(A few loose springs?)
(My mom reads this!)

(You buying any of this yet?)
(Wait…wrong story…)



The line between fact and fiction is often blurred by the tale and how it is spun...

St. J - P.B.U.A.B.W.A.B

Thanks for sitting on THE COUCH, hope you enjoyed your stay.

Remember .. Nets For Malaria - - find the big SI's Nothing But Net logo ... Or call 202.887.9040. Every cent goes to buying nets to place over the beds of children in Africa to stomp out Malaria. PLEASE HELP.

Keep that spark of insanity kids...It helps keep you an individual.


BIG BOSS MAN: Composers: Luther Dixon & AL Smith
Composer: PAUL SIMON

27 Of Your Sparks

  1. YOU, my pal, are an excellent Seanchai (story teller, writer, and songster in the Celtic tradition). Bravo! Can't wait to hear the next part.

  2. Okay, this is what I'm talking about. The Grey's Anatomy of advertising.

    Wonderful, such a wonderful glimpse into you, I've enjoyed reading every moment of it.


  3. Coco Says:
  4. Finally, the Couch discloses what his job entails. The Teacher, being what she is, read this installment with great interest. Please continue with the utmost expediency.

  5. Anndi Says:
  6. WOOOOOOO I'm hooked!
    Secretly wishes this would become a daily.. like many soap operas (wait.. I've said it.. is it still a secret now?) but realizes this is a big I like Mondays!
    Very cool Vinny.. very cool!

  7. Liz Hill Says:
  8. See--told you you were a 'natural'at this. Love the disclaimer. Can't wait for next Monday. Oh and what about the 'prequels'? Smooch

  9. Unknown Says:
  10. Me thinks THE COUCH is a wee bit homesick. However, I love your story. Although some of this stuff I already knew eh?

  11. TopChamp Says:
  12. This is great - I'll be back next Monday! (and probably most days between... )

    Thing is I want to know what happens next right NOW! If you were a book I'd be cancelling my lessons and snuggling down on the sofa to read right to the end.

  13. SONGBIRD: Thank you for the wonderful compliment

    DIANA: Ah but it is live or memporex?

    COCO: LOL yes the details.. I thought of your wuestion as it was typed...

    ANNDI: Daily would get boring!

    TURN: Ah shucks.. yes the disclaimer.. hehehehe

    BUSY: SOme you did eh....

  14. tiggerprr Says:
  15. Hehe, you would have been great to know when I was in NYC for a week in '99. Sounds like you've lived a colorful life so far! :)

  16. TIGERPRR: SO far.. I gues you could say it has been...

    One more installment of this one...

  17. Piacere Says:
  18. First of all, how long did it take you to write this missive??? I SO agree with Anndi on the soap thing and Diana about Grey's A. - you got a serial brewing here, mister!! Cannot wait 'til next Monday!

    Loved hearing about NYC - I will definitely share this with Guido since he's a born and bredder. And all the advertising stuff...OMG...I hear it every day of my of my siblings and her DH own an agency here in town. I worked for them one summer and dabbled in traffic - not for me, baby! Give me science ANY time. Anyhoo, my BIL asked me one day "Do you know the two groups of people who have the highest suicide rates?" "Nope" I answered. "Jack hammer operators and advertising executives" he replied. Pretty skeery...don't know if the statistics still hold, but I wouldn't doubt it in the least.

    Now, after all that, I got a question - what's stochastic screening???


  19. Lizza Says:
  20. Haha! Sounds like The Couch was a wild thing during those days. Great story! Looking forward to next week's installment.

  21. Fred Says:
  22. Oh boy, was this good. Can I tag along next time?

    I can hardly wait for the ending. Now, I need to go back and read the first installment.

  23. Meribah Says:
  24. Wait, what happened to the goose??? TELL ME!!! LOL **ponders the mystery of the goose, while waiting for the next installment of the story**

  25. Unknown Says:
  26. Fantastic post! I´m counting the days till next Monday =)
    Thanks a lot for entertaining me (again)!

  27. PIA: Well that is one of the reasons this is a weekly entry...but "some" of it could actually be based on reality, and that is easier to write..Love that you are going to show Guido...LOL small agencies can be little "Peyton Places"
    Stochastic Screening ... well in normal lithography the printing is done with the 4 basic colors Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and black. If you take a magnifying glass you can see that all the images are made up of "dots" These dots are in a distinct pattern. With Stochastic Screeneing the dots are generated in random patterns..I makes for a crisper look..It is difficult to master..

    LIZZA: A tad .. but he grew into a responsible adult .. HE DID NOT... sssssh oh there is that gemini thing!

    FRED: Knew there had to be a new post after the party! LOL

    MERI: Ummm... maybe that will be a part of the next "stroy"

    SANNI: So happy you got a new laptop and are back!

  28. Angell Says:
  29. Wow (scooches closer to edge of her seat)

    I'm staying here until Monday!!!

    Seriously, sounds like the type of life I once dreamed about (Ok, who am I kidding - STILL dreaming about).

  30. TopChamp Says:
  31. Hello - yup, shy and retiring type that I am I have indeed posted myself playing on the blog!!

    We've been recording tracks for a competition (Young Early Musician) - deadline's passed now so I think it's ok to post them.

  32. Anonymous Says:
  33. soooo .... now everyone knows what I've known for years .... the (ahem) COUCH can write! I'm thrilled you've pursued your abilities. Write On V !!! (wink)

    - joy

  34. This is you at your best. C'mon get writing I need more of this story!

  35. ANGELL: It was fun and it had it's hard times.. well the parts that are fact.. oh isn't all of it fact? ummm

    TC: WAY COOL.. Go listen to TC at her site

    JOY: TY appreciate the kind words...

    BUD: Hey thanks..appreciate it.HEY WAIT are you just trying to keep me away from Mimi's Dating contest this week???

  36. Holy Mackeral! I have not been this involved in a saga since Luke and Laura's wedding!

  37. Tug Says:
  38. really - you can whisper it in my ear - what name are you published under??

  39. Nice... very nice... waiting on next Monday's edition...

    Think maybe we can make this into a soap opera... nah... this is much better than a soap.

  40. Anonymous Says:
  41. I'm so glad MS Explorer has cooperated for the last 15 minutes so I could catch this installment.

  42. STARRLIGHT: Wow..thanks for the compliment! (umm I hope! LOL)

    TUG: How nice . I have had a few ideas in my head ... maybe ..

    DIXIE: LOL it would get boring every day

  43. Julie Says:
  44. Oh yeah Vinny...ya got a good thing going on here!!!

    Keep 'em coming!!!



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