Monday, November 06, 2006

COLUMN: Magic 8-Ball

There are many reasons why working here at the newspaper is great. Some of my co-workers like the hours. Others like the sense of community around here. Me? I'm in it for the toys.

Once upon a time, man invented plastic. This was a bad move, because the day before, man invented the Marketing Executive. It's no secret that the brains of Marketing Executives are wired in exciting and altogether different ways than the average citizen. For instance, look around your home and focus on any item -- a clock, a spoon, a piece of lint. The average person thinks something like, "Hey, a spoon. That'll be handy for eating."

A Marketing Executive looks at the same spoon and goes, "Hmm. Not bad. Just add a corporate logo, the words 'limited edition,' and an attached coupon for 20% off an oil change, and now we're talkin'!" Then he orders a demographic survey while bravely eating soup with his hands.

The end result becomes the Useless Promotional Gift. If there's an item that can be made with plastic, there's a dude in Marketing who's already figured out a way to stamp a logo on it and give it away at a trade show. I celebrate this way of thinking, which is why my desk has become a certified museum of Useless Promotional Gifts.

Except for one small portion of my work desk that actually facilitates work (and certain managers here even question that portion's existence,) every square inch of my desk is taken up by some useless piece of plastic junk. Promotional frisbees? Got 'em. Miniature pool table? You betcha. Enough tiny basketballs and hoops to start my own league? You know it. I love useless junk, and the tackier the better.

And happily, one of the area leaders of Useless Promotional Gifts is our very company, which fills me with warm fuzzies just thinking about it. I recall once we gave away Dispatch/Argus/Leader promotional BANDAGE HOLDERS. How genius is that! I mean, I've occasionally associated work with pain, but I didn't know we could actually CELEBRATE it. And now, much to my excitement, we've topped ourselves.

You see, we're kicking off a new campaign here at the papers, and to get all of us excited about it, we had a little employee shindig last week where we officially raised the bar when it comes to Useless Promotional Gifts. That's right, I'm now the proud owner of a commemorative promotional Dispatch/Argus/Leader/ADextra/QCOnline MAGIC 8-BALL!

Because, really, what says "building company pride" quite like an orb of dark magic that foretells the future? Potential heresies aside, though, not only does this Magic 8-Ball build my company pride, it also writes this column for me! That's right, now that I'm in possession of this great power, as a public service to you, I present... THE FUTURE!

Q: Straight to the nitty-gritty - who's gonna win, Hare or Zinga?
MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: "So it shall be." Crud, that's right. I can only ask yes-no questions. Looks like we have to wait 'til election day.

Q: Okay, then. Will Davenport ever do away with the traffic cameras?
MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: "Very likely." Yeah! We're on a roll now, might as well risk it all.

Q: Will Katie Holmes ever leave that dorkus Tom Cruise?
MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: "You can count on it." Magic 8-Ball, you and I are going to be good friends.

Q: Will she then fall for moi?
MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: "Cannot foretell now." That's okay, I'm sure it's an eventual yes.

Q: Will Earth eventually be overrun by a race of hyper-intelligent, poncho-clad bananas from Neptune, enslaving all of humanity with a cunning combination of telekenesis and strategically placed peels?
MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: "Definitely yes."

Well, there ya go. Can't win 'em all, I guess. Have fun being mind-melted by plantains with poor fashion taste. Me, I'll be off pursuing Katie. But hey, look on the bright side -- at least when you're fleeing in terror from your potassium-laden destiny, feel free to speed all you want in Davenport.

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