Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The "no look" technique

No. This is not a painting technique. I am, at this very moment, using the "no look" technique to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

This technique is employed when, exhausted from having constructed one and a half sandwiches, you find, post facto, a bit of mold growing on the bread. Perhaps the more appropriate term is in medias res? Anyway, you pick the little patch of soft, grey fur off the surface of the bread, glance around for any additional, immediately-obvious fungal inroads against your meal, then start ramming the sandwiches into the mouth while choosing not to examine them any further.

It's going fine, by the way. Can't get the taste of bleu cheese out of my mouth, though. What's with that?

I am, I should report, just back from New York City, where I implemented the first leg of my sprinkling tour. While there, I was talking to a friend about the relative wisdom of watching a repeat of HBO's "Angels in America" miniseries. Made me think back to the days when so many of my friends in the agency business died of AIDS. If one chronicles the various apogees of one's professional endeavors (and I'm not necessarily recommending that one do--it's surely a mixed bag for me), then certainly the mid- to late-80s would be one for Geoff-o. Flying the Concorde, wearing suits to work with suspenders and ties bought at Harrod's men's shop (pre-Fayed), slicking my hair back (as was the fashion of the times) like Pat Riley, counseling companies like McNeil CPC (the makers of Tylenol) on how best to separate sick humans from the maximum amount of their money, sitting in an office that looked out onto the Plaza Athenee on East 64th Street, overtly picking my nose in meetings without caring who saw...

Man, those were the best of times and the worst of times.

The latter because of why, you ask? Because out of the 8 or so male employees of the agency that employed me at that moment in history, by the time 1990 rolled around, the only ones who had not died of AIDS were the agency principal and me.

Being knee-deep in Big Pharma at the time, I spent a lot of time talking to big time doctors about AIDS and its (now, thankfully managable) related complications. Opportunistic fungal infections being one of the worst. I remember having beers with one doc after a vaginal candidiasis conference I'd organized, and he told me about opening the mouth of an AIDS patient and finding his entire oral mucosa covered with what appeared to be fine, grey fur.

It made a lasting impression.

Me? I can't get this bleu cheese taste out of my mouth.


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