It's amazing how sometimes I can look back at a specific moment and realize that I experienced a kind of planetary shift in my understanding the world.
Really quickly: in advertising, mostly you work in teams. You team up art directors and writers with the art guy responsible for what ideas looks like and the writer for the words and sound. It works loosely like that. Anyway, you work with lots of different people and if you're really lucky, you get a partner who's not only enormously talented, but someone you genuinely like as well.
For me, that would be David Oif.
We have a history that goes waaay back, and lots of that history kind of took place in a "Seinfeld" episode.
One time long ago - didn't really know each other that well, we were at an edit, and went across the way to grab lunch. It was one of those bigger diners that used to be downtown here - the kind with large older women waitresses with real uniforms and aprons with the name tag and everything. It was called the Carriage House on an East/West street between Michigan and the lake. I think it's a Friday's now.
The menu had about a million things on it, and I'm just hungry. Not for anything in particular.
The waitress comes and Oif orders something and I order the reuben.
The waitress walks away.
Oif looks at me, disgusted and bemused.
"You ordered the rueben." he says.
I go, "Yeah?"
He goes, "You ordered the rueben?"
"What's wrong with a rueben?"
He said this next line like something smelled bad: "You don't order the rueben in a diner."
Then, he very patiently told me about the magical concept of the deli.
He's from here originally - just waaay more savvy about most things than me.
I grew up in the Air Force, then suddenly I was at college in Flagstaff Arizona. I thought "deli" was that counter in the grocery store with the guy in the white paper hat who sliced meat or gave you potato salad. I'd never actually been to a "deli" before in my life, or if I did I just thought it was a restaurant.
So after the Carriage House lunch, whenever somebody effed up, we would say they "ordered the rueben."
If you invested heavily in dot com companies, stepped in dog crap, or did something inappropriate at the Christmas party, you ordered the rueben.
Last year at this time we sort of knew it, but when Jim Hendry signed Milton Bradley he ordered the rueben.
As I look at everything that's happened this year - with the new ownership and how long that took and how long term contracts affect the team and pretty much everything, the one that stands out is letting Rich Harden go. He may have ordered the rueben there. I can understand not signing Reed, as much as I liked him. But the starting rotation, for so long a serious stronghold on Chicago's north side, it may be slipping this year.
Your hope is that Randy Wells does at least 80% as well as last year. Dempster should be Dempster, but remember he's not that far removed from being the closer - his innings have mushroomed the last couple years. Big Z, well he's supposedly in great shape and wants to atone for last year. Terrible Ted will be Terrible Ted, only a little late. But Sean Marshall, Carlos Silva, Jeff Samardzija ... I don't know man.
But since I know you're interested, I did graduate to the major leagues of deli's years ago on a shoot in New York when we went to Katz' Deli. You can go to the most expensive, hip or trendy restaurant in the city there and never have as good a meal. It's famous not just for the most amazing pastrami and corned beef, but it's also where they shot Meg Ryan's table "orgasm" scene for "When Harry Met Sally". I just played this You Tube movie and I'm sure that everyone down the hall thinks I was watching porn, so if you go to the link you might wanna turn it down.