A Copywriter’s Blog
Bill, the Ninja Killer Ben Levy 22, September

To understand the horror of the following story, all you need to know is this: I once pitched an idea involving ninjas.

The overall campaign was green-lighted, but the ninja’s were killed. I recently discovered the method used to murder these silent assassins. And in hope of saving future ninjas, I share it with you.

In the hallways of the client the ninjas waited, silently planning to communicate a simple message to an unsuspecting populace. Then they overheard something like the following conversation:

Suzan: Wow, this ad campaign we got from those guys is great! It’s so funny! Hey Bill, check out this ad campaign!
Bill: Wow that’s awesome! I really like this stuff! But…why are there terrorists in this ad?

And just like that, the ninjas died.

Getting closer to my flying car Ben Levy 19, September

I remember when voice commands first showed up in my cell phone. Thrilled to have a vessel that would obey my unquestioning commands, I eagerly recorded “Jodi” and “Home” into it.

The results were….disappointing. I couldn’t just cruise down the road and say “Jodi”. No, I had to pitch my voice exactly the same way the phone recorded it. “Jo-di. JO-dee. JO-Dee.”

Due to the constant mockery of my wife, (who heard me perform the same ritual for Home) I never bothered recording anymore verbal commands after that.

But yesterday, while driving, I accidentally hit the button on my bluetooth headset. Which asked me to “Say Command”. In a mood to perform pointless acts of speech, I blandly said “Jodi”.

“Did you say Judita?”


I have never programmed this earpiece. It was a cheap, last minute purchase for $14 when I got my phone. It just read my contact list and verbalized a name from it. On it’s own. Holy crap. Ok, don’t panic. Just do the logical thing- talk back to it.

“No”, I said.


It’s going down my contact list? “No”



After going through a couple Js on my contact list it gave up. Undeterred, I hit the button again and in a perfectly normal voice said: Call home.

My mother picked up the phone.

AWESOME. My unprogrammed $14 POS bluetooth just performed speech-recognition. Man, any day now I’ll have a flying car that transforms into an ipod that can also toast and butter my breakfast in the morning. All on the way to work. I should tell someone about this. Like my wife:


Hmm. Maybe the car won’t transform. Let’s try it again:


Jew who? Oh. Juan. Ha. Clearly this earpiece isn’t Spanish. My excitement subsided a bit. It appeared my transportation and toasters would remain earth-bound for the foreseeable future.

Still, I did find a hack. Jodi is #2 on speedial:

“Call 2″

My wife picked up the phone.

Man I can’t wait till my car flies. Then I’ll poop on birds.

Went for a check-up Friday, and now the shingles IS in my eye. I’m out of jokes. This sucks.

(When I get my eyepatch I’m gonna dress up like a pirate and call myself a copywritaarrr.)

Ok, NOW I’m out of jokes.

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Obviously I’m not blind Ben Levy 4, September

If I were, I’d have said it by now. So there really wasn’t much suspense. But this story does point out why I’d make an awesome superhero, so you should still read it.

I am surrounded by doctors. My wife is in her fourth year of med school. My brother- and sister-in-law are residents. My father is a cardiac anesthesiologist and my father-in-law is a retired family physician.

So when they finally told me “yes you have shingles” I knew what that meant. It meant “yes, there is a chance you’ll be blind in one eye.”

I swear to you the following were the first thoughts to go through my head:

If I go blind, I’m rocking an eye patch. I don’t want a glass eye, or one eye that doesn’t actually see stuff and points the wrong way. I’m totally getting an eye patch.

And I’m gonna redo my whole resume. Shit yeah, I’m going to format it so all the copy is on the left half of the page, and the whole right half is blank. Then at the top I’ll put “Ben Levy: a writer with singular vision”. I will totally stand out from the crowd.

Honestly, those were my first thoughts.

Which means I, like Spider-Man, crack wise at the sight of terrible, life-altering danger. We men of action see our darkest fear staring us in the face, and we make jokes out of it. I faced a life of eternal myopia, and I mocked it.

According to my father, I was just in denial.

That’s ridiculous.

Mind you, while those thoughts were running through my head, my mouth was laughing. Not-hysterical-but-a-little-more-loudly-than-I-probably-should-be-under-the-circumstances-laughing. We men of action are entitled to such things.

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A matter of semantics Ben Levy 4, September

My father is a doctor. He’s actually an anesthesiologist (and I am actually able to spell that right on the firs try-EPIC WIN). Specifically, he’s a cardiac anesthesiologist. This means he works on people whose hearts keep trying to give out on them. What I’m saying is, the man has seen some shit.

I once had a tiny cut on my forearm that became infected. Overnight, a lump grew that became the size of a baseball. When my arm doubled in size in an hour, I brought it to my father’s attention. He looked at it and said: “I’m a little concerned.”

Later, my family physician said: “It’s a very serious infection. If it gets worse, you’ll be calling me from the ER, because that’s where you should go if the antibiotics don’t work.”

In other words, he too was “concerned”.

What does all this have to do with my shingles? When I called my father the morning before I was diagnosed, the conversation went like this:

“So they think it might be shingles. I think it’s ridiculous, but the rash is actually making my eyelid swollen, so I’m going to the dermatologist today.”

“Go to the ophthalmologist.”

“I’ve got an appointment with the-”

“Go to the ophthalmologist today. I would prefer you go there before the dermatologist. If it is shingles and it’s near your eye, that’s very serious. Do you understand?”

And in my head I’m going: ‘that’s very serious’…oh FUCK.

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Herpes Zoster is the technical name of the disease commonly called Shingles. Ooooooh, I see what he did in the headline now, I get it. “Houses”. Ha.

It’s a disease categorized by stabbing pain, disgusting rashes, and occurring in old people.

Old people and me.

That’s my head about four days in. Awesome. (Trust me ladies, I’m ugly. But I’m not thaaaat ugly.)

There’s a lot that’s gone on in the last week, and trying to cram all of it in a single post is pointless. Most of you have probably left after seeing that picture anyhow. For those who stayed, I shall relate one of the many stories to come out of this mess: the Dermatologist.

I’d had the stabbing pain for a week, the rash for three days, and finally went in to see a dermatologist. So the wife and I are in the office, and in walks this doctor. Must have been 6 feet tall, and looked about 22. Exuded confidence and charisma. I felt like asking him out on a date.

He shakes my hand, shakes the wife’s hand, introduces himself and then says “So, you have Shingles.”

That’s it. No medical history taken. No questions asked. Didn’t sit down, put on gloves, or ask me to take my glasses off. Strolls into the office and declares the diagnosis. In a tone that suggests it’s so freakin obvious we must have come for another reason. Then, for good measure, he goes:

“Oh and you know about the [COMPLICATED MEDICAL NAME I DON'T REMEMBER] you have on your left cheek? Sometimes we find that those become cancerous. It’s nothing serious, but you should have it checked once a year. Just keep an eye on it. Also, my super-hearing has detected your heart skips a beat every 79th second, I recommend seeing a cardiologist about that.”

Ok, I made that last sentence up. But all the rest of it was true. This guy was like House before he busted up his leg and got all cranky at life. I was in and out of that office in 5 minutes.

Which was a good thing since -now that we’d diagnosed it- there was a chance the Shingles could make me blind. But that’s for the next post.


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