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A Copywriter’s Blog
My Short Story Ben Levy 29, November

This is my first short story. I have so very many things to tell you about it. I’ll do that later.

For now, I’ll just post it here. Warning: I have a criminal disregard for formatting. I’ve done my best, but honestly a line of dialogue once killed my parents and I’ve never been able to bring myself to properly punctuate them since.

Here’s a download. I’d recommend that.

The Case of the Dead Detective

And just to show you I’ve lost all sense of propriety, I’ve put the full text in it’s own post here I’ll probably put it up in it’s own post tomorrow.

Please, PLEASE, leave me comments guys. Especially if you don’t like it, or it confused you, or you think I’ve committed an unforgivable crime against the craft of writing and should have all my keyboards taken away.

Even if you’ve never commented before, please do it now. This is a learning experience for me and I’m almost entirely self-taught where fiction is concerned.

Which means most of the time, my teacher was an idiot.

Enjoy.

Friday Feature: Bohemian Muppets Ben Levy 28, November

I know this Friday Feature is a day late, but look at it this way: if you were one of my Australia readers, it would be two days late.

Dear Australia readers- I got nuthin.

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Be Thankful Ben Levy 25, November

I just doodled a quick sketch to remind everyone that we have at least one reason to be thankful this year. After all, if Ben Franklin had his way, this would be a reasonable facsimile of our country’s seal, instead of tomorrow’s main course.

turkeyseal

Happy Turkey Day everyone.

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Nothing PC About It Ben Levy 22, November

Hello, I’m a Mac, and The Wife’s a PC.

She’s a PC out of necessity. There are a ton of medicine-slash-hospital related things that she uses the computer for, and many of them don’t like Macs. Now, I know ways to work around that. But that means The Wife would rely on me to do doctor things online. I think we can all agree that is less than optimal. Also, I think we can all agree that I should stay as far away from doctor things as possible.

It is for that reason that we just replaced the very old Mac she was using with a DELL Inspiron. It’s not a bad machine. My major gripe with it (aside from the fact it runs Windows, ZING!) is the touchpad. It’s so over-sensitive that if it hears a loud noise it runs off and hides under the bed.

After a week of accidently zooming when I wanted to scroll, selecting things when I wanted to scroll, and clicking on things I hadn’t even selected when I wanted to scroll, I decided to change the settings on the damn thing. In my head, that procedure went like this:

1. Find settings panel
2. Change settings for touchpad.
3. Enjoy no longer having to fight the urge to hurl the brand new computer through the window.

Obviously, since I’m writing about this on my blog, that is not how it happened.

Me: [Colorful and richly-varied insults of a mechanical nature directed at the PC]
The Wife: Want me to look at it?
Me: [Call into question the PC's lineage and ancestry, such as it is]
The Wife: Let me see it for a second.
Me: [Coyly imply that perhaps the PC was best-suited for testing aerodynamics, specifically those pertaining to defenestration]
The Wife: Fine, whatever.

This scene repeated itself several times over several days. Trolling through forums, staring at option-less option panels, and various threats to turn the machine into a boat anchor all yielded nothing. It was probably a week after I first looked into changing the settings when I ran out of vituperation to hurl at the device and tossed it on the couch as I left the room in disgust.

90 seconds later this occurred:

The Wife: Hey, is this what you were looking for?
Me: [Stomping into the room] I will not believe that you just found some magical panel full of pretty, colorful graphics whose sole purpose is to very simply adjust the touchpad settings.

A moment’s silence is observed while I see that, yes, she has just found some magical panel full of pretty, colorful graphics whose sole purpose is to very simply adjust the touchpad settings.

Me: [Laughter. Lots of laughter. More laughter than that. So much laughter my eyes are tearing up]
The Wife: You’re only laughing because you want to scream.
Me: [Nodding through even more laughter]

I hate PCs.

And Windows 7 was clearly her idea.

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Friday Feature: Big Teeth Ben Levy 20, November

Admittedly, the photographer telling this story does it in a way that impresses a narrative and motive on the Sea Lion that may not be true. But I don’t care for three reasons:

1- I do the same thing with my dog.
2- The idea that there’s this one massive creature looking out for all the rest is too disney-esque not to love.
3- Holy shit.

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Let’s Talk, Facebook. Ben Levy 15, November

Hi Facebook, thanks for coming. Have a seat. Want anything to drink? No? Ok, I’ll get right to it.

What happened to you, man? You used to be cool. I remember when we were in college, before you got all famous and forgot who you were. Even after you made it big, you still helped me remember the names of the people we met the day before. Hell, you gave everyone a reason to take pictures for the first time since the slide projector, I think we all love you for that.

And you’re not like MySpace. You keep it classy. And I still respect you for that, Facebook, I really do. But ever since Twitter, it’s gone downhill.

Huh? No this isn’t just about the Moms. No one blames you for that. Of course you couldn’t keep the moms off you, not since that Oprah feature. But that’s fine. The moms I can ignore. It was a problem we all joked about good-naturedly, y’know? Like the one drunk Uncle who always passes out at Thanksgiving. Sure it’s embarrassing, but you just shrug and move on.

Picture 8

If it’s one thing, it’s your feed. I mean, when you made it real-time, it was just so obvious. All of a sudden everyone was on Twiter, and you freaked out and tried to be just like it. Twitter had no galleries. No friend suggestions. 140 freakin’ characters. What were you so scared of? Oh you were scared you giant social media pussy, don’t deny it. If you weren’t you would have just stayed the same way you’ve always been instead of trying to fit in with the new crowd.

You’ve been making some bad decisions, Facebook, and I can’t just sit by and watch you do it anymore. At this point, I’m willing to risk our relationship by being honest with you like this. What? Society? Society? Don’t talk to me about society, Facebook, you’re a freaking social media site. We made you, you don’t get to cry about us. Nobody is making you do this shit man. Hell, you pushed that shitty “box” layout on all of us.

Look, you want to know why people love Twitter, Facebook? It’s because- let me finish- it’s because Twitter listens. They hear people like something, like hashtags, and they implement it into their API. They don’t just spring some shitty “boxes” layout update on people, and make half their existing apps obsolete. I don’t want to hear it man, nobody liked that shit. And what the hell is THIS:

Picture 4

Now you’re trying to tell me who I should poke? That’s just twisted man. I work with that guy. Why the hell would you even say that to me? I don’t care how you meant it… oh now you just sound like my mother: “You haven’t talked to Johnny in a while. I always liked Johnny. You two should hang out.” Yes it is the same thing, you arrogant-

Don’t tell me to go jump on MySpace if I don’t like it, I’m trying to help you here. Everyone’s saying it and you’re-

Oh nice. So it’s like that, huh? Yeah? Well why don’t YOU talk to my mother, what do you think of that? Why don’t you tell her who she hasn’t connected with in a while? And while you’re at it, why don’t you take a picture of THIS and post that to your “Live Feed”. Better post it to the “News Feed” too, cause no one knows what the fucking difference is between the two of them.

Friday Feature: Om, Nom, Etc. Ben Levy 12, November

Look I’m gonna be honest here: I think the writing on Sesame Street is freaking fantastic. Also, Cookie Monster is a pimp.

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The Racist Post Ben Levy 8, November

When I talk to someone, I tend to unconsciously mimic their style of speech. It’s a habit I picked up somewhere. Most of the time I don’t even realize I’m doing it.

Being able to speak in different voices is a necessary skill for a copywriter. Various brands, demographics, and media all have their own styles of speech. Screw them up and things just sound “off”. For an example of this, let’s observe what happens when a White Jew from South Jersey who tends to mimic dialects gets into a conversation with an African American from Pretty Much Anywhere.

[Spoiler Alert: what happens is he sounds like an idiot.]

Example A: Lunch.

Black Coworker: “Mmm! This food is BANGIN’!”
My Dumb Ass: “FER REAL, YO THIS SHIT IS HAW-I mean yes, this food is quite delicious.”

Example B: Goodbye

Black Coworker: “See ya tomorrow, boy. Be easy.”
My Dumb Ass: “PEACE, SON!…oh man, I’m sorry can I just- can I just come back in the room and- and we’ll do the whole thing again? Ok? Just- like I’ll just come back in through the door and we can start over.”

Example C: I Don’t Even Know What To Call This

Black Coworker: “Yo that [OMG N WORD] was tryin me hard.”
My Dumb Ass: “Tell him ‘Don’t Step’ man. Gotta represent. Can’t just be comin’ round here talkin’ smack that way.”
Black Coworker: “…”
My Dumb Ass: “…”
My Dumb Ass: “Cause it’s- I mean, that’s how…um…”
Black Coworker: “Sometimes you try too hard, man.”
My Dumb Ass: “…You guys laugh about this in the meetings don’t you?

I’ve got to assume I’m not the only one who’s done this. I really hope I’m not. It’s not intentional, I swear. Sometimes I’ll do it three times in the same conversation and for the entire time my brain is screaming SHUT UP! YOU ARE A WHITE JEW BOY! YOU DO NOT “KEEP IT REAL”. YOU DON’T “ROLL WITH YOUR HOMIES”. NONE OF YOUR “SHIT” IS “TIGHT”. JUST KEEP YOUR DAMN IDIOT MOUTH SHUT, WISH THEM A HEARTY “MAZEL TOV”, AND GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE BEFORE YOU EMBARRASS YOURSELF FURTHER.

And yet it just keeps happening. I’d stop it if I could. I mean, after the first time it’s not even funny anymore.

So to all my Black/African American/Painfully Sunburned friends, coworkers, and acquaintances- I apologize. I’m really, really sorry. I’m going to try really hard to keep it from ever happening again, and I beg your forgiveness if I act the fool while we’re cold chillin’.

…aw, damn it.

All ads should be like this. Ben Levy 6, November

And may I just add “Fuck” and “Yes”.

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Wizard’s First Rule Ben Levy 1, November

I love adages with official sounding names. A quick jaunt through my favorites:

Murphy’s Law- perhaps the most well-known: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
Godwin’s Law- If you invoke Hitler or Nazis as part of your forum argument, you automatically lose.
Occam’s Razor- The simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
Hofstadter’s Law- It always takes longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Occam’s Razor might be considered more than a simple adage, given that it’s been in circulation since the 14th century. But most of these are just entertaining observations about life with “Law” added to the name of the observer.

Early in life, I was hoping to gain immortality through becoming a child-prodigy. But the older I get, the less likely it seems that will occur. So my new plan is to call attention to something blindingly obvious. To craft an adage for the ages. An enduring observation that helps people end arguments and ease their daily suffering. I’ve got the name, I just need the revelation. A few years ago I was all ready to reveal ‘Levy’s Law’ to the world, but then I found out it was already named. It’s called the Wizard’s First Rule.

The Wizard’s First Rule is this: People are stupid.

It is brilliant. Genius. Absolutely sublime in its simplicity and utility. It was pretty much word for word what I wanted Levy’s Law to be. It was coined by one Terry Goodkind, an author of incredible success whom I dislike intensely.

It’s not because he beat me to the revelation that people are stupid. It’s because of his books. You probably don’t care, but I can’t stand his writing. I thought his early work was great because I assumed it was written semi-ironically. Then I discovered it was written genuinely. Furthermore, since his runaway success his latter books have devolved into piss-poor 400 page diatribes on his feelings about the meaning of life. These he wrapped around some romance-novel-like mush that a Harlequin book would feel embarrassed to share shelf space with. Worst of all, he’s attempted to retcon the only thing of any worth he’s ever written- the Wizard’s First Rule. Mind you, this is all my opinion. Feel free to read them yourself. Then leave a comment about how doing so was a colossal waste of your time, so that I can reply to it saying “I told you so”.

But I can’t deny the perfection of the Wizard’s First Rule. Hell, it even explains why people keep reading his books. So I’ll have to find another observation for Levy’s Law. Maybe something about how every good idea you have has already occurred to someone else. (Which of course is best proved by the already existing adage “nothing is truly new”)

Anybody got a favorite adage they’d like to call out?