Me: the brand.
April 21, 2015 § 10 Comments
His T-shirt read:
THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND, and he was trailing his wife around the Tallahassee Flea Market.
He was taller than most, good-looking too, but myth? Legend?
Perhaps his label was a joke. Or a wish. Or a gift from his kids.
But as I looked around, other T-shirts made claims for their wearers.
None said anything as modest as: Nice Guy, Good Kid, or Decent Human Being.
Please read the following in the voice of an irritated geezer.
Why is it that everyone is extraordinary these days? A star? The center of the universe? In my day we were ordinary and proud of it.
Okay, go back to your normal voice. The one that doesn’t sound cranky or like a used car salesman or carnival barker, and ask yourself nicely, why is it that we have to package ourselves as if we were really famous or as familiar as an iconic consumer product?
When it comes to self-promotion the T-shirt is just the beginning.
If you do anything public or commercial you will be told to brand yourself. Being unwilling or bad at it will be held against you.
Consider some of the great, reclusive creative artists of the past: Vincent Van Gogh, Harper Lee, Emily Dickenson, J.D. Salinger. What if their inability to sell themselves had kept their work from seeing the light of day?
I write books and make music, both public activities that require an audience, and I will email you and post to Face Book and hope you’ll come out to hear me sing or buy my latest book, but the pressure is on to do so much more.
I’m told that to succeed I must shake the tree of social media constantly, collect followers. Maybe “followers” is just an unfortunate choice of words, but I humbly submit, unless you are Jesus Christ, the Buddha, or some other radiant source of light, you should have friends and family, not followers.
Famous people have always been with us, but in other eras they were few and known to everyone not living under a rock.
Given the choice, would you want the burden of being Elvis?
Now that being legendary is the norm we are like a string of firecrackers, each of us going off with a loud pop and a fizz of smoke, briefly noticed before this short-attention-span society shifts its gaze to the next shiny object.
Please return to the cranky voice. In my day we were all in this together! As my mother used to say when I asked if I was pretty, “You’re pretty enough.” Back then enough was good enough.
Few of us are destined to tower, but we can strive to be a Nice Guy, a Good Kid, or a Decent Human Being.
We don’t need a T-shirt to advertise it. We just need to live it.
Note: After reading this, my husband, Ray, has agreed to, never again, wear his FISH FEAR ME T-shirt (although they would be wise to do so).