Monday, August 08, 2011

Revenge of the nerds

With my frizzy hair, AP course load and complete unfamiliarity with pop culture and fashion (I'd been overseas during elementary and middle school), I qualified as one of the geekier members of the Wakefield High School Class of 1994.

And while I'm definitely out-geeked by the first generation Korean-American science genius with the incredible growing jaw that Dr. Youn describes from his teen years in his memoir In Stitches, my success as an ad agency creative director with lovely curly locks is out-shined by his tremendous accomplishments as one of the country's best known plastic surgeons.

Dr. Youn opens his hilarious book with the moment that solidified for him why he'd chosen the right field: he was about to remove a fourteen year old boy's enormous man boobs and give the guy a chance at a normal life. It reminded the young physician of how his skill could change this guy's life for the better, just as his teenage jaw-reduction improved his.

I thought back, trying to remember a moment when I first realized being an ad creative was my true calling. I'm not sure any qualify as true watershed moments, but I recall spending days with my 6th grade friend Diane as we worked on a meticulously written and illustrated "doll catalogue." Then in high school I took a job working at a Hoohobbers boutique for children and I got such a thrill from designing the window displays.

Finally, I took a job as a promotions coordinator at an alt weekly right out of college. I loved putting together events and writing the ads and invites and collateral, but I didn't much like meeting with nightclub owners and beer reps and asking for money. Copywriting and creating without the responsibility of negotiating contracts...that's pretty much the life of an agency creative.

I received my copy of this book because I am a member of the From Left to Write book club. We don't write book reviews, but posts inspired by the book we've read.