As I mentioned at the beginning of summer, I recently came upon several boxes of my old schoolwork, hidden away at my parents’ attic which I’m cleaning out in advance of its sale.
While it’s nostalgic to look back at these journals, projects, and tests – and a bit disheartening, knowing my childhood home is going to be sold – it has been enlightening for me, as well. I have been able to read so many things I’d forgotten about, that I can now look back on and realize how they played a role in me developing into…well, me.
Since I have been spending my Fridays sharing some of the >ahem< “poetry” that I was writing in my journals back then, I thought I would share something that foreshadowed my other career: advertising.
I began working in radio right after my college freshman year, and I’ve been writing, voicing, and producing commercials ever since. It’s no wonder I do voiceover work for a living! (If you’d like to learn more about that aspect of my life these days, or would like to know how I might be able to help you with your advertising, please click HERE.)
I loved writing and acting before I had even entered high school, and in addition to poetry and short stories, I developed a fondness for advertising. I owe this to the genius of Stan Freberg, whose old radio shows and commercials I had grown up listening to, thanks to my dad.
By the time I was in high school, I was writing and voicing (and sometimes pre-recording) the morning announcements and living the dream in drama club. Reading a steady diet of Mad Magazine, Cracked, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy while watching British comedies like Monty Python and the under-appreciated The Goodies carved my sense of humor into what it is today.
Looking back on all this now, I completely understand why I made up fake advertisements for some of my journal entries, like this…
And since I made reference to “Loc-Tite” doorknobs, I figured I’d resurrect the product for what I think was a Creative Writing class project. I didn’t fool around, either – this thing was poster-sized:
That’s right, kids – we didn’t have Photoshop, we didn’t have scanners, we didn’t have selfies. This selfie, in fact, was probably taken by one of my parents on my old 110 camera, which was then brought to a Fotomat and developed in time for me to cut it out and paste it, and — whoa, hold on. I think I just hit old age. Pass me the Geritol.
Anyway, even though I can tell I was trying too hard to be funny, I can completely appreciate where this style of humor came from. Like I said, too many issues of Cracked magazine and too many episodes of Fawlty Towers.
And a big, big influence from Stan Freberg, who I referenced earlier. He still influences my copy writing to this day.
Oh, and then there was this masterpiece journal entry from Feb. 1985, just a few days after that horrible photo of me was taken…
And yes, these were journal entries.
While some teens were pouring their hearts out in belabored free verse and others were writing about partying over the weekend, I was there making up fake advertisements, ridiculous rhyming poetry, and concocting word puzzles.
Somehow, I graduated as valedictorian. So the moral of the story is, if I can do it, anyone can!
(Stay tuned…more dubious-quality poetry coming up this Friday, when I feature “Ode to Lint!” And yes, I’m totally serious!)