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A Copywriter’s Blog
Between a Doc and a Hard Case. Ben Levy 26, December

Unless I have a split personality no one’s told me about, I’m just one guy. So I find it entertaining to see how I’m received in different social circles.

The Wife is a doctor, which means we have many doctor friends. They tend to marry early, start families, and be super smart. They have fun, but their parties are rarely broken up by the cops. And the thing about doctors is they marry other doctors. So when we show up to doctor parties we’re walking into a room where it’s all smart, stable people. And me. The weird creative guy. The Wife’s husband. “Have you heard? He works in advertising. And he’s an author. Yeah he’s the one who wrote that dick book. Yes, that one.”

Understand, on more than one occasion I’ve walked into a room full of these people and they’ve all congratulated me on being a writer. It’s absurd.

In advertising, the exact opposite is true. I’m married, which is bizarre. Half the people in advertising never get married. And if they do, they sure as hell don’t do it at twenty-four. I can count on two hands the number of parents I’ve ever worked with. My co-workers are all people who have traveled the world twice and jumped out of planes and off buildings. They drink on a near daily basis, and are fascinated by the fact that I don’t. Also, I’ve got this weird religion thing going on. And “What do you mean he’s never had a friend bail him out of jail at 3 am?”

Last week a few of my co-workers coined the term “pulling a Ben”. It means to do something surprisingly responsible. Like leave the bar after one drink.

In one world, I’m considered mildly interesting. Which is even more ridiculous when you consider that everyone else in that world saves lives for their living, and I sell stain-remover to middle-aged housewives. In the other, I’m a competent but boring guy who reads too much and is already (faint look of disgust) married.

They’re probably both wrong right the truth.

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Levy’s Laundry Law Ben Levy 9, August

I have come up with a new theory: Laundry is the litmus test of how well you’re handling life.

I’m not saying people with empty laundry hampers and perfectly organized sock drawers are normal. Far from it. If you don’t have any dirty laundry in your house you’re either a g-damned freak or a nudist, and either way I’d appreciate it if you didn’t sit on my couch.

Here then, is my scale of Life Handling, as it relates to Laundry:

Empty Hamper
If you have a totally empty laundry hamper, seek immediate medical attention. At the very least you have OCD. At the worst, your body is merely a fleshy shell through which the Devourer will seek to enter our world.

Half Full – Full Hamper
Clothes are worn, and clothes are washed. The Cycle is maintained. Your shit, as they say, is together. You handle life well.

Clothes Exceed Hamper by 50%
The average hamper is about 3 feet high. If you’re clothing extends to 5 feet, you might be having a difficult time handling life right now. Keep in mind that this does not mean you’re failing at life. You could be perfectly happy in life. You could be a super successful and well-respected porn star. You’re could be the Old Spice Guy. But if your laundry has built to this point, life is starting to get away from you.

2:1 Laundry/Hamper Ratio
This is generally when people look at your laundry basket and declare that “there’s a problem”. As your clothing is now somewhat higher than the average male, it is hard to argue with them. In the game of life, you are now losing.

What Hamper?
At this stage, the tower of garments collapses in on itself, reducing in height but completely obscuring the hamper beneath it. For comparison, this is the average state of a college student’s laundry. Now ask yourself if a college student has a handle on life. Yes, exactly.

The Laundry is the Dresser
At this stage you’ve exhausted anything that even resembles clothing, including those oversized team-building exercise t-shirts and your girlfriend’s v-neck which you were trying to pass off as an indie undershirt but everyone knew better. At this point, all pretext to having a handle on life is gone.

This law is still a work in progress, and I’ll refine it as new evidence comes to light.

It should be noted that right now, The Wife and I have two (2!) hampers at a “2:1 Ratio”. I was feeling pretty bad about this, and complained to a friend of mine. He replied with the following:

“Amateurs. [My girlfriend and I] have two hampers, plus a canvas hamper with three compartments, plus two laundry baskets that double as hampers. All full to the brim. And we usually keep our clean clothes in the dryer.”

Congratulations, buddy. I’m naming the last level (so far) of Levy’s Laundry Law after you.

Pagan Laundry
If and when the amount of Laundry Holding Receptacles in your domicile outnumber the total amount of bodies inhabiting said domicile, and all of them exhibit Stage 6 of Levy’s Laundry Law, and any wearable items left to you can be found in your Dryer, your life has outpaced you to the point that you might as well be declared legally dead.

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Funny how that works out Ben Levy 8, August

The good news is a shit ton has been going on in my life. The bad news is that it leaves me very little time or energy to write about it.

For the last few weeks I’ve felt like I’ve almost started to get the hang of writing here again. So I’m not just gonna phone Monday’s post in. None of the multiple posts I’ve started are ready, and the super short story I wrote yesterday is pretty damn good. Which means it’s worth making great before I share it here on the site.

I’m going to give myself the extra day and hopefully get the time I need to write something decent about one of the seventy bajillion (that’s the technical term for “many”) things that are going on. I appreciate your understanding about this, and the fact that I slept with your girlfriend/wife/sister.

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Talk to the Spam, Vol 3 Ben Levy 2, June

“hi,really fantastic pants,do you know where i can find that.thanks,bill”

Best. Spam. EVER.

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Nomenclature Ben Levy 31, May

I think the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as an advertising copywriter is name something.

In ancient times, names were powerful things. To name something was to be it’s master. People also believed that to know the true name of a person or thing was to have absolute power over it. And whether you buy into magic or not, I think we can all agree that in our attention-span dwindling, keyword-crawling society, names are key.

My problem with naming things is that a name means everything and nothing all at once. iPod? If we’re judging it on name alone, I would assume an “iPod” to be some sort of prefabricated bachelor pad. Of course, with Apple’s multi-billion dollar marketing campaign, everyone knows what an iPod is. In fact, the name became so powerful that it’s lowercase prefix became the de facto signature of the Apple brand.

But the point is that if you had asked me to name this little solid-state memory music device, “iPod” would have been at the bottom of my list. Right behind “Inedible Musical Broccoli” and “Tiny Player Thingy”.

Names are also tricky because if you call anything the same name long enough, it becomes it’s new name by default. This is a real danger when working on unnamed projects. Because if everyone refers to that blue web site as “the blue website” for a few months, sooner or later it changes to The Blue Website. And then you’re left standing on your desk screaming about why you can’t call it The Blue Website just because you’ve gotten used to calling it that, and everyone is looking at you incredulously asking “Why not? It’s blue.”

And so the question becomes what you’re hoping to achieve with the name. For example, when a brand of premium ice-cream wanted to appeal to adults, they picked a name that meant nothing but sounded European and expensive: “Haagen-Dazs”.

I think the truth is that Shakespeare was right: a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, as long as the marketing campaign it was launched with still focused on it’s aromatic properties. But there’s no arguing that a good name can do wonders for your product. If you get it right, a product’s name becomes introduction and sales pitch all at once. At least, that’s my opinion.

Ben Levy is the author of the book “I Have A Dick. Now What?” a title which he feels is an introduction and a sales pitch all at once. He is also a jackass who thinks this is a terribly clever way to finish this post. It is not.

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Pants. Ben Levy 7, March

My relationship with the word “pants” is surprisingly deep.

Anyone who knows me, who has read my blog, who has overheard me talking, or who has spoken to someone else who fits any of these qualifications, is aware that I have a penchant for the random. For that reason, most of my friends do too. I mean let’s face it, either you roll with the non-sequiturs regarding platypuses platypussies platypie duckbilled mammals and their relevance to the meaning of life, or you don’t.

And so it’s not too surprising that somewhere along the way one of my friends uttered “pantaloons!” as a battle cry, or exclamation, or…well shit, he might have been talking about a particularly tasty slice of pizza. Really, I don’t remember.

But from that point forward, the default answer for silliness in all it’s forms was “Pantaloons”. We were declaring Pantaloons at every opportunity. But before long, it seemed to be lacking something. It was funny, sure, but it was missing a certain immediacy. We needed a word that was equal parts exultation and imprecation. We required a single syllable whose utilitarian randomness was beyond all question. Plus, “pants” is a fairly easy extrapolation.

So, everything became “Pants”. Hit in the shoulder unexpectedly? “Pants!” Just heard a piece of unbelievable news? “Pants.” Want to offer an altogether familiar and yet totally confusing response to whatever was said last in conversation? “Pants.”

And don’t even get me started on how many dead-locked concepting sessions I’ve re-invigorated by suggesting “Pants”. Oh don’t look at me like that. It worked for these guys.

Plus, when The Wife (at the time known as The Fiancee) got me this shirt, I knew I was getting married to the right person.

Photo 59 copy

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