I’ve been watching the #MeToo campaign off and on today. This is how much of it surprises me: Zero. I mean, if you’ve been walking around with XX chromosomes for half a minute, stuff happens to you, whether it’s harassment, assault, catcalling, whatever the hell else the world has up its sleeve. I don’t dwell; what would be the point?
But yeah, me too: Walking to my guitar lesson when I was 14, with some shithead yapping at me from a car. Riding my bike to my sailing lessons about the same age, and some other shithead actually leaned out of the car to smack me on the ass. Making a phone call in a New York City phone booth, late one night, and a guy passing by reaches out to pinch my breast, as casually as you’d flick a cigarette away. The list goes on, and on, and on. None of these guys were Hollywood producers. This isn’t a Hollywood problem, despite what half, no, three-quarters of the conservative commentariat seems to think. It’s a people problem.
Be a nice guy, guys. It starts with you.
So, the job hunt continues. I tweaked my resume for the third time, and we’ll see what comes of that. I used to write resumes with the idea that some person would read them, and I tried to make them lively. Now you have to write them with the knowledge that a computer is scanning it for keywords, and doesn’t know shit about lively.
Of course, in my gut I think what it’s really looking for is dates, and knowing I graduated from college in 1978 is not working in my favor.
But let’s move on. Growing up in Columbus, we were always known as a hick town. The city is home to the largest public university in the country, a state capital and a robust white-collar workforce, but we still played third banana to Cleveland, with its spicy ethnic stew, and Cincinnati, objectively much prettier. Over the years, Cleveland suffered Detroit’s economic fate (but snagged the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame) and Cincinnati remained Cincinnati, a German burg whose power structure always operated as though they’d had giant logs shoved up their butts when they reached maturity, Mayor Jerry Springer being the notable exception.
When the national media came to Columbus, photographers always managed to find their way to North Star Road, not far from where I grew up, to take a photo of a cow grazing in a field with the city’s skyline in the background. The cows were owned by Ohio State’s ag school, but never you mind — Cowtown we were and Cowtown we would always be, until one day we weren’t, and now the city is something else entirely. It has hipsters, who call it C-bus and man, just typing that makes me cringe, but whatever.
Here’s something they always said about Columbus: That we were the country’s No. 1 test market for new products. I believe we got Fiddle Faddle before the rest of the country, and there was something called Gorilla Milk, a competitor to Carnation Instant Breakfast. I’m sure there was more.
When I had my job interview in Fort Wayne, the managing editor preferred to do a walk-and-talk, and we strolled through the West Central neighborhood nearby the paper. He told me one thing I should know about Fort Wayne was that it was the country’s No. 1 test market. I did not scoff, but knew I’d tasted Fiddle Faddle before he ever did.
So today, the NYT confirmed that C-bus is, in fact, a new shopping frontier:
For shoppers, this city of 860,000 smack in the middle of a swing state, can feel like an alternate reality, a place where up is down and down is up. Frumpy department stores feature personal shopping services and boutique wellness amenities. Workaday grocery stores like Kroger offer exotic fruits and freshly baked artisan breads.
Even the fast-food business is living in the future. McDonald’s is offering table service from friendly waiters. Robots are taking orders at Wendy’s. Chipotle started a chain that serves hamburgers.
Interesting. In my young adulthood, it was a fast-food bonanza there. So many people came out of the Wendy’s management program with another idea, and they all seemed to locate in my neighborhood. RIP Big Bite, a beta version of the pita wrap. But today the oxygen-rich air is all in retail, with experiments like the EB Ice Box, a 13-degree room at Eddie Bauer stores, where buyers can test their jackets in punishing temperatures. And there’s a tribute to Easton, i.e., the mall that looks like Bedford Falls if Mr. Potter had better taste and more vision.
Glad to hear the old town is delivering on its legacy of being a good place to test out new hamburger-peddling strategies. I don’t miss Columbus very often, though. Detroit is more interesting, in its own way.
OK, then. Wrapping it up and then back to the hunt.