A copywriter’s job is to find beauty, humor and insight in whatever crosses our desks. It’s a natural fit for optimists. We get to put everything in its best light. For example, this recent BBC story on how uncontrolled raw sewage is threatening to contaminate Rio De Janeiro’s future Olympic games simply reminds us writers why companies like Siemens Water Technology are so essential to civilized life.
Which is all just a long way of saying that this week’s challenge passed our way by COO, Felicia Stanczak is terribly revealing. The task: come up with a list of 12 songs that serve as the soundtrack of your life, to date.
My list, like me, is insufferably awesome. But how can one turn blue when the world is brimming with random bits of greatness? In the past week alone, I have learned that you can get your face printed on giant blankets, that Google Maps offers underwater ‘streetview’ pictures of the Great Barrier Reef and that FoxNews says mankind can travel at the speed of light as soon as we find ‘exotic matter.'
Seriously, we need to get on with finding exotic matter.
But back to the music. I won’t include the entire list here, lest this post devolve into a philosophical debate about whether or not high school females in the late nineties did or did not want “no scrubs." Verdict = they did not.
Instead, I will focus on a single song in the list that highlights the mind of a budding copywriter. The scene: early evening at a rural Ohio middle school in 1995. It’s the night of Spring Fling. All the boys are in child sized desk chairs lining one wall of the cafeteria. Some of them have hit puberty hard and early so their limbs are sprawling into their classmates’ personal space. By the refreshments, a gaggle of girls chat nervously about which members of their respective cliques will get asked to dance first. And in the middle, an uncrossable desert of stained carpeting dotted with bored looking teachers moonlighting as chaperones.
And then the song starts. The music that speaks like no other to the pain and confusion of rural childhood. The notes that make bullies and the bullied rise up and shout in unison. Small metal chairs are abandoned at the room’s edge. A dozen plastic cups of fruit punch are forgotten on a folding table.
And for a singular moment lasting four minutes and fifteen seconds, middle school experienced its best light. It was a Gangsta's Paradise.
It’s probably best not to recount other memories from this time. It’ll shoot down the whole optimist thing.