Commercialize

Commercialize: (v) to manage or exploit in a way designed to make a profit.

The Erickson Bread Company is coming out with a new product.

It doesn’t seem unique–it’s a tasty wheat bread fortified with vitamins that has the softness and flavor of white bread.

Everyone at the company and in the board room is ecstatic. They feel they have a good loaf which could quickly be considered great if it were advertised correctly.

A debate rages.

In order to present their creation to the public, they feel they need to find the best way to commercialize it–and by commercialize they mean the most favorable and common vehicle to convey typical life being joyously invaded by the new Erickson bread.

It is concluded that it would be ridiculous to show a family sitting around the dinner table enjoying one another’s company, commenting on the bread.

Old-fashioned.

Out of step with the times.

They also rejected the notion of a man wearing a hard hat, seemingly oblivious to the lunch he’s about to eat until he bites into the sandwich and smiles at the tasty bread.

Too much emphasis on a male figure–and who really wears hard hats anymore?

So it is decided that the best way to commercialize the bread is to have an energetic young mother standing at the kitchen counter making sandwiches for her young son and little daughter, who are completely preoccupied staring at computer screen and phone individually. The mother asks them to taste the bread. Without looking up, they nibble a corner–and suddenly their eyes look away from the screens and move to their mother, still with dead stares, and say, “Umm. That’s not bad.”

The commercial ends with the announcer saying: “Erickson’s new wheat bread–claimed by children who are obsessed by the Internet as ‘Umm. Not bad.'”

Commercialize: a decision to give in to the situation of our time, representing ideas in a fashion which may only be applicable for a few months.

Unfortunately, not everything we do in life can be commercialized.

Amen.

 

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Celebrity

Celebrity: (n) a famous person.

I remember the first time it happened.

I was sharing at a book conference about my latest release, and the announcer, in an attempt to beef up my credentials, told the splatter of
humans attending that I was “a celebrity.”

His exact wording was, “We are so pleased to have our next guest, who has achieved celebrity status.”

The oddness of his phrasing was further punctuated by a pitiful smattering of applause.

The introduction bothered me.

Since we live in a social structure which insists on honoring a social structure, ranging from famous people all the way down to “nobodies,” it seems difficult to breathe in a sense of self-esteem unless we are constantly touting our self-worth.

After all, we don’t want fifteen minutes of fame because we desire to be famous. Rather, we want to make sure we don’t end up being the guy or gal who never got it.

So at the end of my little lecture that morning, I opened the floor to questions, and a young boy about nine years of age raised his hand. I have learned over the years that allowing such a lad to offer a question can open the door to, “Does anybody really like your book?” or “How’d you get so fat?”

But I took the risk, acknowledged the kid, let him take the microphone and offer his inquiry. He was a pretty nice little guy. The only thing he wanted to know was, “Are you really famous? Because if you are, I want your autograph.”

There was a giggle in the room. I don’t know if they were giggling because he was so cute, or wondering why in the hell somebody would want my autograph.

So I asked my young friend, “Have you ever heard of me before?”

He frowned and shook his head.

I laughed and said, “Well, then I guess I’m not famous. I guess, like everybody else, I’m just a celebrity in my own mind.”

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Borrow

Borrow: (v) to take and use something that belongs to someone else with the intention of returning it.

I have an inkling that determining whether people are getting older can be evaluated by judging the shows they watch on television.Dictionary B

For instance, when I was younger I would never have watched “Wheel of Fortune.” And even though I would not call myself an avid viewer now, it is occasionally on in the background while I do other things.

Likewise, I would have made fun of myself for watching the judge shows like “People’s Court.”

I bring this up because on these court TV shows, each case finishes up with an interview in the outside hall, where the announcer asks the litigants what they learned from the experience. Universally, the eternal truth that falls from their lips is, “Don’t trust anybody.”

Benjamin Franklin intoned, in his pseudo-intellectual way, “Neither a lender nor a borrower be.”

It is a wonderful philosophy–if you are never in need.

But since my life has been bespeckled with all varieties of poverty and prosperity, I can appreciate the fact that every once in a while … you are one cup of milk and one bowl of cereal short of breakfast.

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Announce

dictionary with letter A

Announce: (v) to make a public and typical formal declaration

I attended a wedding.

It was a festive affair, as they often are. I don’t know of anything quite like marriage, which gains such optimism and steam during the reception, only to be regaled as nearly hopeless by the time the guests reach the parking lot.

But I digress.

At this wedding, there was a flurry of toasts given to the bride and groom. In the midst of these salutes, one young gentleman stood to his feet, lifting his glass to the recently betrothed, and said, “I want to announce that I got a job on Thursday that pays 47K a year, which is a step up for me.”

There was a pause. You could sense the reasoning in the entire room.

  • Yes, this is obviously an unnecessary announcement for this moment.
  • Yes, it reeks a bit of selfishness.
  • Of course, it will keep some awkwardness in the air, until we are well into the cake-cutting ceremony.

At length, someone trickled off a limp representation of applause, duplicated by those souls most forbearing.

Our announcer was completely satisfied, smiled at the entire room, tipped his glass and drank it down.

Now, I was intrigued. I watched him for the next ten minutes as he beamed to those around him his glee over his recent acquisition, hoping to receive adulation, only being compensated with nervous nods.

Announcements are nice. Three things are important for them, though:

1. They should be on point, and not obtuse.

2. They should benefit the common good of the hearers available.

3. They should be doused in humility and a bit of reluctance, so there’s more joy coming from others than hemorrhaging off the speaker’s ego.

To conclude my story, I will tell you that the person who followed our bizarre announcer with the next toast was careful to elongate it with sufficient focus and praise back onto the blissful duo.

It’s the beauty of life.

For every fool who poops in the middle of the road, God seems to send a patient soul behind him … with a pooper scooper.

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