Congratulate Me, I’m the #1 Loser

First off, the obvious: sock-sock-shoe-shoe won in a landslide. 90% of poll respondents (and 100% of Facebookers) get dressed that way. The message is clear: Tara is insane.

She’s also a great sport about it and admits she’s the nutty one here.

Things are a little more interesting when looking at the order. A lot of you go right to left. I’m the opposite. Maybe because I’m an avid reader and my eyes naturally scan the page left to right? Regardless, I was satisfied with the responses and ready to put the whole thing behind me when a text from my brother threw me for a loop.

I’m curious if you shoe tie shoe tie or shoe shoe tie tie.

My head almost exploded at that point.

I had to think about that one for a minute before concluding I’m a shoe-tie-shoe-tie guy. But don’t worry, I’m not going to beat a dead horse.

Way back when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I had to cross off a few things. Dragon slayer was the first to go when I realized The Hobbit was pure fantasy. I’ve long been fascinated with weather and briefly debated a career in meteorology, but one introductory college course was enough to make me realize it wasn’t for me. Too much calculus and physics when all I wanted to do was gaze at clouds.

I finally settled on writing. I was leaning toward journalism, but my dad talked me into advertising instead. The life of a copywriter seemed glamorous enough. I’m sure it is, but the ad business is very cutthroat and I realized by my junior year that Madison Avenue was not for me. Rather than start over from scratch and declare a new major, I figured the piece of paper was more important than what was printed on it. So, I graduated with a B.A. in advertising, but never even tried to find a job in the industry. I wound up in manufacturing and then healthcare, for crying out loud.

Which makes the three Silver ADDY awards I won last week feel all the more incredible.

In case you’ve never watched Mad Men (why haven’t you?!), ADDYs (American Advertising Awards) are the advertising industry’s largest competition, designed to recognize and reward the creative spirit of excellence in the art of advertising. I’m a member of the American Advertising Federation’s Black Hills chapter, so these awards were presented on the local level. Winners go on to compete in district and national competitions.

For the record, the ADDYs aren’t just in my name. They were a CenturyCo team effort and we all get to bask in the glory. And, if you’ve ever heard Jerry Seinfeld’s take on Silver awards, it’s brutal.

You win the gold, you feel good…But if you win that silver, that’s like, ‘Congratulations, you almost won.’ Of all the losers, you came in first of that group. You’re the No. 1 loser. No one lost ahead of you.

Jerry Seinfeld

Despite that, these are no less rewarding. Just when I thought advertising was a pipe dream, something I’d never do in my career, here I am, working on ad campaigns.

And I find I really like the work. I’m still a storyteller at heart, but advertising gives me a chance to really flex my creative muscles. Short, snappy, clever copy—heavy on puns and wordplay—that dazzles ’em with the unexpected is right up my alley. Guess those college courses paid off, after all…even though it took a damn long time.

Sorry if this is long and rambly. I’m a pretty humble guy most of the time, but I’m awfully proud of this achievement. My career path has been unconventional to say the least, so I’m a-gonna bask in the glory for a few minutes if that’s okay with you.

37 thoughts on “Congratulate Me, I’m the #1 Loser

  1. I love this! Congratulations – not only in winning the award and so artfully putting it in context for us but for taking the time to celebrate it. Your sentence, “so I’m a-gonna bask in the glory for a few minutes if that’s okay with you” is beautiful! We should all learn to bask in our wins a little more.

    Good for you! Here’s to celebrating all weekend – or all month — or all year, whatever feels right for you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats! And say this with the utmost sincerity… you are absolutely the finest loser I know. 😉
    But seriously, I think advertising is a perfect fit for you. It requires clever creativity and you’ve got that in spades. You also shoe tie shoe tie, which is the only correct way to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! There’s a fine line between being proud and bragging. I tried very hard to not cross that line. It’s a nice personal accomplishment for me but I don’t expect anybody else to be too impressed!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Absolutely okay with me for you to bask. You deserve it. Only thing missing here is a view of your winning entries and of my face on your arm. (Like how I snuck that in there?)

    Shoe-shoe-tie-tie would be horribly inefficient. I have no idea if I sock-shoe R to L or L to R. Now I’m going to have to pay attention!

    Congrats again. That’s really cool.


    1. Ha. I knew it was only a matter of time before you asked! I need to wait for the right moment to show off my Betsy tat.

      You know, when Scott asked me that, I really had to stop and think about it. Because I don’t think about it in the morning…I just do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And now you and I both won’t be able to HELP but think about it.

        I realized recently that I’ve never been to a bar or brewery for St. Patrick’s Day, except perhaps at the St. Pat’s Day carnival when I was in college. Oh, but I wasn’t old enough to drink, so probably not then either. Realizing this sham that has been my life, I’m trying to get some friends to go out with me.

        That it’s on a Thursday this year is not helping. My point is(!) if you go out on the 17th, I’d be honored if you took me with you. HOWEVER, if you take my face to an establishment that is sacrilegiously playing country music, I will never forgive you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, boy. I made the mistake once of going to a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. Not only that…an IRISH pub. That was a huge mistake. Literally elbow-to-elbow people. Lesson learned: I’ll never again frequent a drinking establishment on St. Paddy’s Day!


  4. Congratulations! I do remember the award from watching Mad Men. Very exciting, Mark.

    For the record, it’s shoe, tie, shoe, tie. I don’t have a preference for left or right first. Whichever shoe I happen to grab!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I do agree that I don’t have any hard-and-fast rules about which direction I go. Left to right is habit more than anything else, but I wouldn’t be opposed to switching that up.


  5. Congrats on not one, but three awards! Well deserved. It’s a good thing you didn’t pursue meteorology. First, you wouldn’t have won the Addy Awards, but you also would have had to put up with a lot of insults from me. Like this morning, for instance. After I practically got a hernia shoveling 8 inches of wet snow instead of the 1 inch the worthless meteorologists predicted. See? Writing is a much safer career.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Our weekend snowstorm outperformed, too. Unlike you, I got to use the snow blower…which, let’s face it, is a real treat! 🙂

      You’re right, though. Meteorologists don’t get fancy awards. Or groupies, like we writers do.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I worked in advertising many a decade ago (pre-parenthood) and only in media buying and account management, but I remember the feel good time of winning awards. Not that I (or any team I was on) won any, but I still recall the glow. Good to see you enjoying the glow. Nice work!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sock-Shoe-tie. Sock-Shoe-tie.

    Congratulations Mark! That is an amazing feat, even more so with how you got here. Bask away and imagine a nice pat on the back from way down south.

    Liked by 1 person

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