Passports 10: A Letter to My Son Regarding Advertising

gas nozzle

From: Moorcote House, Moretonhampstead, Devon, England

To: Brian, Astoria, Queens, New York

My Dear Boy,

I hope this post finds you well and in good stead.  Has your golf game improved somewhat?  I do hope so, because remember the reward I promised last Christmas?  In case you have forgotten: if your game improves to within ten strokes of my own modest handicap, then I shall allow you to caddy for me at the next tourney.  Is everything else just chipper with you? I hope the package I put in the post ten days ago will reach you in time for the Big Party you often spoke about.  I chose the knickers myself.  I know how you admired the plaid ones that I sport.  And, I think the orange socks will compliment them to a tee.  I bought the box at the Post Office and found it was too large for the knickers and socks, so I included a few bags of Hedgehog flavored chips.  Reminds me of the joke: What can’t the hedgehogs share?  Good one, that.  I must ask after that darling lady friend of yours.  She’s such a dear.  Has she had any success getting the purple/orange dye out of her hair?  And, tell her that a Mohawk ‘do’ will, in time, grow out.  Between you and me, I hope she ditched the dog collar.  Also, she had asked our opinion about her recent purchase of stocks.  We thought about it and have come around to seeing her point.  We also feel that double-bonding silicon caulk is, indeed, a sound investment.  Personally, I think it was a much better choice than variable speed drills and double-basin stainless steel sinks.

Our rent car is a Fiat.  It’s smaller than most American cars…in fact, it is smaller than most cars in general.  Even with the back seat folded down, we could barely fit our two trunks and still have room for the laptop and Irish tweed cap that I so proudly wear when the evening gets a bit nippy.  Actually, it’s a good thing that the car is so small because the roads here in the West Country of England are so narrow, one can barely fit past another car.  When I’m pressed against the hedgerow on the passenger side and a lorry is approaching from the opposite direction, Mariam tightens and cringes.  I, on the other hand, am very relaxed.  I simply close my eyes as the lorry passes and wait for the sound of a side view mirror getting smashed off or the paint on my side of the car getting scraped clean.  Metal against metal has a pleasing sound, once you get used to it.  So, to the point of this letter, my boy.  I know you live in Astoria, Queens and have a nice job in advertising in Manhattan.  Your life sounds like something out of a Doris Day & Rock Hudson movie.  Yes, you went to a chi-chi New York City Business College but I feel, as a father, that I should give you some man-to-man advice on your career path.  You keep insisting that there is money in those massive billboards in and around Times Square that are placed by your company.  Hey, neon has it’s place, but the world doesn’t revolve around mid-town Manhattan (actually, on second thought, it does).  But, because you’re my son, I feel compelled to let you in on a little secret that I have picked up while touring England. I stopped on the M5 Motorway just this afternoon to fill the tank with what these Brits call ‘Petrol’, you know, gas.  Something caught my eye whilst I was pumping and I am now passing it on to you, my boy. On the top part of the pump was a sticker.  It read:

Not only has fuel nozzle advertising brought in new customers, but local awareness has gone through the roof. 

Now, I know a good bit of advice when I see it.  So, for what it’s worth, I’m passing this onto you, my boy.  You can step up to the plate, put the ball on the tee and take the ball and run with it or you can can take the bull by the horns and get caught in mid-stream without a Pope. Write soon and call your mother, Love, Dad

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